Fees questioned

2018-02-27 06:00

Masiphumelele residents have been warned against parting with money in an attempt to be added to a government housing list.

This follows a recent meeting in the community, during which residents were reportedly told of a piece of land that had been given to the people of Masiphumelele by the Public Protector.

They were also reportedly told that if they each paid R50 to some community leaders, those leaders would negotiate on their behalf for houses on this land.

The most recent meeting was held on Saturday 17 February and, according to social media reports, saw several residents parting with money in the hopes of receiving housing opportunities.

Public Protector spokesperson, Cleopatra Mosana, says the provincial office “has no knowledge” of the meetings or claims, and “is hearing mention of such for the first time”.

“Services of the Public Protector are free of charge, therefore no person should be making payment, and those who have been scammed must go and report the matter to law enforcement agencies so that the perpetrators can be made to account,” she says.

Mosana says that the only land made available, in which the Public Protector has had any involvement, is that specified during a settlement agreement which was signed with the City of Cape Town.

The agreement states: “The City will make remainder of erf 5131 available to Masiphumelele informal settlement, as emergency relief to Masiphumelele, subject to consultation with the community on the tracts of land that have been identified by the City, and approvals required in terms of applicable legislation.”

She adds that a meeting was held with the Masiphumelele community representatives and the South African Human Rights Commission­.

Community leader Dumsani Nhlapo says the land raised at the community meeting is that of the agreement. He says the issue is around the time period in which residents were supposed to be relocated to the land.

He says the discussions are not around formal housing, but instead about relocating residents from the wetlands to drier areas with ablution facilities. He adds that this has been discussed with the City, Human Rights Commission and local councillors.

He confirms that residents were asked to register with community leaders, but says the R50 fee is intended to cover legal fees should they choose to take action against the City over housing matters, as well as to rent facilities and equipment for meetings. 

Nhlapo says this R50 fee was paid to the Masiphumelele Basic Service Task Committee, which has a bank account.
Subcouncil 19 chairperson, Felicity Purchase, explains that the City has a database of all people who are awaiting houses.
“Each house that is built by the City is allocated according to a strict and rigorous process according to our Housing Allocation Policy.
“No-one needs to pay any money for plots or to be on a database as there is a process in terms of the National Housing Policy of who qualifies for different types of housing opportunities,” she says.
“I wish to point out that the City has surveyed the community and has a database of all residents in the area, as well as our housing database which you can check.”
The Masiphumelele Development Framework will be released for public participation by June this year and “the process around the development of the available land (being erf 5131) is being followed currently”, Purchase says.
“Please do not fall prey to opportunists. I have reported this to the South African Police Service and asked them to help protect people from having their money stolen like this.”
Mosana adds that should a complaint be lodged with the Public Protector, it will be assessed. 
V To check if you are on the City’s housing database, SMS your ID number and surname, separated with a space, to 44108. A response is usually sent within minutes.
V To register on the City’s housing database, visit one of the City’s housing offices or the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za.

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