The FF Plus today went to the Brakpan police to discuss charges which will be laid against an official in the housing department of the Ekurhuleni Metro Council who asked for bribes from poor people so that they weren’t evicted from their houses, adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on social development said.
According to Adv. Alberts, this step was taken as a result of the advice which was received from the Public Protector (PP) about maladministration and poor service delivery at the Ekurhuleni’s department of human settlements.
The relevant official had according to witnesses apparently asked for bribes on various occasions so that people could keep their state housing or to receive a housing unit at the expense of other people who were on the waiting list.
The offenses were allegedly committed at low-cost housing units in Tweedy Park in Brakpan and Farrarmere Gardens in Benoni on the East Rand.
The FF Plus had already in April of last year requested the PP to investigate these allegations about maladministration and corruption in the department after the complaint did not receive any attention from the Ekurhuleni Metro.
The PP took a strong stand in favour of the two settlement’s residents and her recommendations included the following:
People who were evicted from their homes without a court order must be placed in housing units again;
The disparity in and unreasonable high rent will be referred to the Rental Housing Tribunal for adjudication;
An investigation should be launched into the incidents where residents are being improperly sued for rent; the policy of ownership transfers which allows for transfers of metro homes to residents and why, unlike before, is no longer taking place; the poor maintenance work which in some instances have created life-threatening circumstances such as those at Tweedy Park where water is running down lift shafts; the requirement that residents have to renew their rental contracts every two years, where it hadn’t been required previously;
The fraud investigation against officials, who deal with the placement of people in residences, will continue;
A family of whom all the members are disabled must be placed in a home again after they had previously been evicted as a result of alleged non-payment. In this case the family had to go and live in a garage where the mother passed away. According to Adv. Alberts, the Metro should take the blame for this.
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