Eight-year law needs to go – Van Minnen
BY LAW, anyone getting a state- subsidised RDP house may not sell it for eight years – but that’s discrimination, according to mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen.
“I believe the eight-year prohibition on sales is unconstitutional, because it means you are treating people of different income bands differently,” she said.
Van Minnen knew the objective was to protect recipients’ assets and ensure they were not exploited.
“But the reality is that we could find other methods of protecting people. What is happening at the moment is that we are not allowing people to leverage their property – as any other property owner is free to do.
“Nationally, we claim the objective is to enable people to leverage economic success. And there is a market – we know there is – yet people are prevented from accessing it.”
Van Minnen said: “To me, it’s unconstitutional to treat people differently on the basis of income and it is something the city is taking up with the national government, as it will require an amendment to national legislation.
“One of the key concerns is this: someone gets an RDP house, but where can they go from there? There’s a huge gap in the market. At the same time, the reason why there is such a strong market for RDP houses is that people earning more than the recipient threshold of R3 000 want to access formal housing.”
These were all factors informing the city’s thinking about stimulating backyarder communities and more effective interventions in the human settlements arena.