RDP houses stand va­cant

Au­thor­i­ties find it tough to trace the ben­e­fi­cia­ries

Daily Dispatch - - News - By ASANDA NINI

HUN­DREDS of RDP houses re­main un­oc­cu­pied in the Eastern Cape due to “un­trace­able ben­e­fi­cia­ries”.

In Pots­dam in the Buf­falo City Metro, more than 150 houses have been standing va­cant since 2013 while oth­ers have been van­dalised. These houses are part of 258 units across the prov­ince yet to be oc­cu­pied, de­spite the hous­ing back­log grow­ing by the day.

Some of the houses are in Wal­ter Sisulu and Elun­dini mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties – ar­eas where de­mand for de­cent hous­ing by des­per­ate home-seek­ers is rife.

The details are con­tained in a re­port tabled by hu­man set­tle­ments MEC Helen Sauls-Au­gust to the Bhisho leg­is­la­ture re­cently. In her writ­ten par­lia­men­tary re­sponse re­port, Sauls-Au­gust said 154 hous­ing units in BCM have re­mained va­cant since 2013, while 79 houses in Elun­dini and 25 in Jamestown have re­mained un­oc­cu­pied for eight years.

Sauls-Au­gust was re­ply­ing to writ­ten ques­tions posed to her by DA MPL Sanele Ma­gaqa.

Sauls-Au­gust told the leg­is­la­ture their ef­forts to trace hous­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries have hit a brick wall over the years. “The un­oc­cu­pancy was caused by the ben­e­fi­cia­ries that re­lo­cated to big­ger cities in search of de­cent em­ploy­ment with their fam­i­lies,”she said.

“The depart­ment has been call­ing on all ap­proved ben­e­fi­cia­ries to claim their houses in the dif­fer­ent ar­eas be­fore the de-reg­is­tra­tion process could start.”

She said her depart­ment was work­ing hand-in-hand with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in a bid to track down some of these “miss­ing” el­i­gi­ble ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Ma­gaqa yes­ter­day said: “It is in­hu­mane to al­low houses to stand va­cant while thou­sands of fam­i­lies live in hor­rific con­di­tions and while the Eastern Cape still has a back­log of over 600 000 houses. Poor plan­ning of this sort does lit­tle to tackle the ever-in­creas­ing prob­lem of in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

“Also when houses are not oc­cu­pied they of­ten be­come van­dalised and stripped re­sult­ing in fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture.”

What is sup­posed to hap­pen, Ma­gaqa said, is that ben­e­fi­cia­ries should re­port their pend­ing re­lo­ca­tion to the depart­ment so that the houses could be al­lo­cated to the next el­i­gi­ble ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Sauls-Au­gust said her depart­ment had in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year built 12 453 hous­ing units across the prov­ince at a cost of R1.9-bil­lion. Most of those houses are in the ru­ral districts such as Al­fred Nzo and OR Tambo, while BCM and the Nel­son Man­dela Bay met­ros, saw 1 677 and 2 542 hous- ing units be­ing built re­spec­tively in the pe­riod.

Sauls-Au­gust also re­vealed that an amount of R918.8-mil­lion was used be­tween 2015 and July this year to rec­tify 6 300 “badly con­structed” and de­fec­tive RDP houses across the prov­ince. She said 1 465 de­fec­tive houses would be rec­ti­fied in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year. In to­tal 35 827 houses across the prov­ince, need to be rec­ti­fied. —

Pic­ture: ALAN EA­SON

SHAT­TERED PROM­ISES: A view through a bro­ken win­dow of a van­dalised and un­oc­cu­pied house in Unit P on the out­skirts of Mdantsane. There are 154 houses in the area that have been un­oc­cu­pied since 2013 be­cause the right­ful own­ers could not be lo­cated

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