Police investigate RDP house ‘hijackers’

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Mzwakhe Sithebe
Mzwakhe Sithebe

Housing committee members who “hijack” RDP houses in Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal, could face criminal charges.

Mzwakhe Sithebe, chairperson of the Endumeni Civic Association, said he and two fellow members of the association, Zama Masimula and Nozipho Majozi, laid charges against members of the Endumeni municipality’s housing committee on Mandela Day, July 18.

They had been waiting for months for the municipality to deal with evidence they had presented to the council.

Sithebe said the matter was tabled in a council meeting on May 30, “but to date no tangible action has been taken”.

“We want the commercial crime unit of the SA Police Service to investigate and take this matter to court for prosecution. We can’t allow this to go on without challenging it,” he said.

Police confirmed they were investigating the case.

Last month, the Endumeni Civic Association approached City Press with the same evidence after becoming suspicious of the municipality and the province. Both, they believed, would not act against those involved in the “hijacking” because of their political contacts.

They also feared causing the ANC-run municipality embarrassment before this week’s election.

Both Masimula and Majozi are among many Dundee residents who were allocated houses in Extension 19 and Extension 20 of Sibongile township, where a 700-unit state housing project has been partially completed.

In his affidavit, which City Press has seen, Masimula said he had been paying R1 200 a month to a member of the housing committee, whom he named, via a cousin acting as a middleman.

Majozi was allocated an RDP house in Extension 19, but found the relative of a housing committee member living in it. When she followed up, she was “given” another RDP house to share with an equally desperate resident.

She said in her statement that she and her housemate each paid R1 500 a month to the committee member’s nephew.

Department of human settlements spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said officials were “snowed under” because of a corruption investigation taking place in housing in Durban. Baloyi said the case was being investigated but progress was often slowed down because of a lack of cooperation from municipalities.

It would be referred to the anticorruption section once initial investigations had been completed.

Endumeni council speaker Sduduzo Mdluli, who is responsible for the project and is also the ward councillor for the area, did not return repeated calls and SMSes from City Press over the past two weeks.

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