RDP houses to 'bona fide' citizens

2011-10-20 09:00

Johannesburg - The RDP houses in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg have been allocated to "bona fide" South Africans, the Gauteng housing department said on Wednesday.

It was reacting to accusations by residents that foreigners were being allocated houses in section 10 ahead of locals.

"The MEC [Humphrey Mmemezi] has invited people to bring evidence forward that proves people living in the houses are foreigners, but no one has ever come forward," said provincial housing spokesperson Motsamai Motlhaolwa.

"We understand the frustration of the waiting people but it does not justify using threats and inciting xenophobia."

Motlhaolwa said the department could not provide a house for everyone.

Earlier, residents warned of an uprising over the foreigners living in RDP houses.

"If government doesn't want to help us then we as the community need to rise up on our own," said resident Angeline Masango.

"It's going to be difficult. To my knowledge the people of Alex... are angry."

Masango said she had registered three times for an RDP house, but was told she would need to pay R3 000 or R6 000 if she wanted to get one.

Another resident said she had paid someone in the council R3 000, but she still did not have an RDP house.

2008 xenophobic attacks

Residents said foreigners were receiving RDP houses before the locals because they were able to pay.

Motlhaolwa said there was no money payable for an RDP house.

"If anyone can prove that they have to pay, they must come forward so we can make sure that those culprits are brought to book.

"We [government] don't ask for money for RDP houses... someone out there is making a killing," he said.

The housing department met police in Alexandra on Wednesday morning to address the issue.

Alexandra was the scene of several xenophobic attacks in 2008.

Gauteng police said they were keeping watch.

"There are sector officers in the area monitoring the situation and we are speaking to the community," said Gauteng police spokesperson Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini.

On Tuesday, residents put up posters warning foreigners to vacate RDP houses in extension 10 of Alexandra. They delivered pamphlets to the houses and hung posters on street lamps.

It was reported that the posters read: "You are violating our rights to own our RDP houses".

In one of the letters handed out, residents said: "The residents of Alexandra don't want... xenophobia unless you give them a cause to do so".

Cases of intimidation

In another letter they said: "We demand that you vacate at your own free will without being pushed like animals or aliens".

Residents have given the foreigners until Sunday to vacate the houses.

Dlamini said the police were concerned about the pamphlets that had been handed out.

"Police in the area will look at cases of intimidation," he said.

Motlhaolwa said the issuing of pamphlets and posters was a criminal offence because it was a form of threat.

"Criminals behind this must be caught and punished. Last week, officials visiting the area were intimidated so we have a court order forbidding anyone from going into the area except for officials and construction companies," he said.

A resident, who did not want to be named, said the people of Alexandra did not want to live with foreigners.

"They [foreigners] must have their own place - not around us," said the 55-year-old woman.

"They are foreigners and they must live in foreigner places.

"We feel bad because our children don't have houses... I've been waiting about 10, 15 years for a house."

Albert Mhlare, another Alexandra resident, said he was worried that violence would erupt over the issue of foreigners.

Rental stock

"We know they are not allowed to be there," he said.

"I'm very worried about the violence."

People who qualified for an RDP house had to earn between zero and R3 000 a month and they had to be South African citizens. Basic electricity, water and sanitation was provided.

The house could not be sold for the first eight years of occupation, said Motlhaolwa.

"Most people don't understand how the market works. The house usually sells way below the cost of building a house," he said.

It cost about R54 000 to build an RDP house, but the houses sold for about R15 000 or R20 000.

Motlhaolwa said there were more than 1 000 RDP houses in extension 10.

Half of the houses were "rental stock", which meant people had to pay rent to the government. The other half were for poor people who had no money for rent, he said.

When Alexandra residents were asked if they thought they would still receive an RDP house many replied that they were not hopeful.

"I've given up... it is a waste of time," said one of the residents.

  • Mandla - 2011-10-20 09:09

    How does a community organise pamphlets and posters, distribute them to houses and placate them throughout the community and the police don't know anything about it?

      Joanne - 2011-10-20 09:45

      When it is arranged by a league, 'activist' organisation, union or some other group with an agenda. They look to find a strategic community, assess or create an issue within that community and then organise a crowd. You'd probably battle to find any actual community members involved in the poster-production, and you might find that any foreign dwellers bought their RDP houses from bona fide locals. The problem in SA with crime (and many of these protests are starting to look like part of an organised-crime agenda rather than a real desire for govt accountability) is that there is either inadequate intelligence being gathered or else it is being ignored by the people in charge.

  • Brad.Kopping - 2011-10-20 09:36

    "They are foreigners and they must live in foreigner places." i dont think i understand their logic.

      Dorothea - 2011-10-20 10:03

      it is the same logic that they use when they tell white people to return to europe. but they should be careful, because they would have to do as they suggest and return north. but we all know that consistency is not one of their strengths. the irony is that many of these xenophobic locals originated in the parts of africa that they are telling the 'foreigners' to go back to.

  • cosmos.ndebele - 2011-10-20 09:40

    Everything just points to lack of education with these Alex people, attacking foreigners won't solve their problems bloody fools

      Positiewe - 2011-10-20 12:21

      Agree. Vote a new government in place and most of your problems with go away in the first 5 years...

  • Grant - 2011-10-20 09:46

    Where to start? Instead of threatening foreigners, the people of Alex should demand that the council investigate who is living in the houses and how the occupents got there (did they pay bribes or are they renting them from people who were issued them). Why does the government allow all these foreigners in when there is insufficient housing and not enough jobs for citizens? I was 'advised' to leave Zimbabwe in 1982 by CIO. I had to work my ar$e off to house myself and family. If these foreigners are refugees the government should house them in refugee camps. Money cannot be a problem, just look at how much is being spent on Zuma's Malema's and government ministers housing.

      Walter - 2011-10-20 09:53

      Grant: As the MEC states, there is no proof that foreigners live in the RDP house, you are jumping the gun somewhat here. But maybe, there are some foreigners living in some of them, maybe rented to them by the South African owners? Would not surprise me a bit!

      Peter - 2011-10-20 12:40

      It seems to me that the houses were allocated to bona fida SA's but they were then rented out to the foreigners. The people are given the houses for free then rent them out and make money out of it. Others do not understand this (they are ignorant) and want to know why they do not get a free house. Also, take a closer look at RDP houses next time you pass them by. - The houses are allocated to people who earn between ZERO an R 3 000 pm. How is that the houses have satellite dishes and BMW's X2 parked next to them and how are they able to afford the numerous extentions - even to the extent of creating double story RDP houses????

  • Kevin - 2011-10-20 09:58

    Why are we building houses? let the people build there own houses. it is costing the taxpayer billions and the houses are rubbish . They should have to pay fot there houses.

      Jerhone - 2011-10-20 13:17

      if it was not for this useless government, we could use non violent prisoners to build RDP houses for the people under supervision, any prisoner that takes part in this program every day they work, they recieve one day off their sentence it is a way of keeping them occupied and out of mischief, plus it would save the government on labour costs plus it would give the cons experience in the building trade once they've finished their sentences

  • valkyriaza - 2011-10-20 10:35

    Classic corrupt department scheme combined with ignorant and uneducated residents. I wish people would stop demanding things and do something about their situation, but that would actually mean working.

  • lilanie.scheffer - 2011-10-20 11:18

    If this is true the South Africans have very right to be angry. Every day we read about millions been stolen by goverment. How many houses could have been build with this missing millions.

  • Lungani - 2011-10-20 12:29

    The truth of the matter is Zulus see anyone who dont look like & speak zulu as foriegner. They a have the same apparthied mentality of superiority. Even South Africans from the north or south (Sotho, Xhosa, Pedi, Venda, Shangaans etc) are seen by these zulus as semi-South Africans. They are just intolerant of any other nation/culture. Just visit Alexendar and you see that these above known South Africans are forecd to speak Zulu to be accepted as South Africans in Alex. It is the truth. assuming you can remove the so called foriegners and put other South Africans there, they will still complain with another reason and threats; and tell you they must go back to Limpopo/Free state etc. They are not even ashamed to show that No Black person comes from Gauteng(our parents came here for work) except the lost souls. Mandelas, Mbekis, Sisulus, Motsepes Ramaphosa, Tutus, Maphosa etc and other leaders always go back home once a while; but these lost souls don't want to ask their uncles/relatives to know where exactly they come from and claim other inhabitants are foriengners.Its a clear weakness in security intelligence to apprehend these group behind such henious threats. Anyway nothing happened to those who burnt another human being as we all saw on TV in 2008 so why can't the same or another group do it again?. Its very sad in this modern days to see such.

  • Ax - 2011-10-20 14:06

    The article says: "Basic electricity, water and sanitation was provided." What the heck, so on top of paying sabc exec millions (4 here, 3 there), eskom ones millions too (around 5) and million rand cars, those xenphobs racists get a free house, and on top free eskom water and sewers while i pay over 2000R each month for that??? And the protest (with singing dancing and destroying property) about service delivery was for service they get for free??? Getting enough frankly.

  • Joseph - 2011-10-21 21:49

    I am tempted to agree on comments posted on this column mostly by white people.Are we entitled to everything becouse we are black?.I think whites are correct,people should work not always take take take.

  • weaichy - 2011-10-22 05:41

    I believe investigations need be done to get to the source of the problem furthermore i am of the opinion that the borders should be closed off. We have over-extended our-self as a nation. Charity begins at home, if we are only giving people homes in 2011 who applied in 1996 we have a huge problem, maladministration and an office inundated with housing claims come to the fore. Stricter order control will limit immigrants and enable the govt to focus on those within our nation foreign and local without a constant influx. We wont be the first to do so, the UK now has a visa system for immigrants and visitors.

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