RDP houses stand vacant
Authorities find it tough to trace the beneficiaries
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. —
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