Desperate Alexandra township residents salvage what’s left of their homes after illegal structures built too close to the Gautrain lines were demolished by the Red Ants. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
Desperate Alexandra township residents salvage what’s left of their homes after illegal structures built too close to the Gautrain lines were demolished by the Red Ants. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

1.2 million Gauteng residents still waiting for RDP houses

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Mar 22, 2021

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Johannesburg – Mushrooming shacks everywhere. Land invaders allocating themselves plots on land that is not theirs then selling them to desperate and unsuspecting victims. Hijackers taking over derelict buildings and then forcing the tenants to pay the rent to them. This is what is happening in many parts of Gauteng.

The ongoing battle for a roof over one’s head has left many people heartbroken as they watch the houses they built with their hard-earned money being torn down, because fraudsters sold them land that belonged to someone else.

Or the Red Ants evicting people, throwing their belongings out and dismantling the structures they call home but which has been built on illegally occupied land.

Others find themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who don’t care about fixing the derelict buildings they live in but still collect rent every month.

According to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, 1 217 948 Gauteng residents are waiting for RDP houses.

Joburg and Ekurhuleni account for about two-thirds of Gauteng residents who can’t afford to buy or build their own houses and are awaiting government housing assistance such as RDP houses.

This is the break down of those waiting for houses in each of the municipalities:

  • Johannesburg: 471 246
  • Ekurhuleni: 318 414
  • Tshwane: 225 478
  • Emfuleni: 80 124
  • Mogale City: 46 416
  • Randfontein: 19 818
  • Lesedi: 17 977
  • Merafong: 10 415
  • Westonaria: 16 113

The lack of suitable land and bulk infrastructure, as well as migration and urbanisation were among the reasons for the housing backlog, said Gauteng Department of Human Settlements spokesperson Tahir Sema.

Sema said the provincial government had delivered more than a million housing opportunities since the dawn of democracy.

“Of this number, 771 000 of these were breaking new ground or RDP units. The rest were social housing, finance-linked individual subsidies and hostel dwellings, to name a few of our offerings.”

An RDP houses costs R116 000 to build, Sema said. To qualify for one, the following criteria needs to be met:

* Be a South African citizen or in possession of a permanent residence permit.

* Be 18 years or older and of sound mind.

* Neither the applicant nor their spouse should have previously benefited from government housing assistance.

* Not have owned a fixed residential property but qualify for the purchase of vacant service site.

* The entire household must earn a monthly income of less than R3 500.

Sema said there were instances where, after building the houses, the municipalities encountered challenges when it was time for the owner to take occupation.

“The department is often threatened with invasions and vandalism of 95% practically complete houses. There is also the challenge of locating untraceable beneficiaries to take occupation once the project is complete.

“Then there will also be delays in the registration of municipal accounts, especially at the local municipal level,” he said.

Sema, however, said only one official was dismissed in 2019 for corruption relating to RDP houses.

IOL

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