The Public Protector (PP) expressed strong views during a conversation with the FF Plus during the past week against irregularities and alleged corruption at the Ekurhuleni department of human settlements, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on social development says.
According to Adv. Alberts, a delegation of the PP’s office, expressed concerns about various problems at the low-cost housing unit on the East Rand, especially in Tweedy Park in Brakpan and Farrarmere Gardens in Benoni and offered proposals to address the problems and resolve them.
This follows a request addressed to the PP of the FF Plus in April last year after numerous allegations of maladministration and corruption at the department were made. The PP was approached because the complaints did not receive any attention from the Ekurhuleni Metro.
Some of the complaints included that officials responsible for the management and awarding of residences in the settlements had received bribes to put applicants higher on the waiting lists and that no maintenance had been done to buildings. The PP has recommended the following steps:
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 will be launched into the incidents where residents are being improperly sued for rent;
An investigation will be launched into the policy of ownership transfers which allows for transfers of metro homes to residents and why, unlike before, is no longer taking place;
An investigation will be launched into 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;
An investigation will be conducted into 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.
According to Adv. Alberts, the PP’s cooperation and findings are very encouraging. “The FF Plus stands for social justice and the state should accept the responsibility in this instance for the poor management which caused the problems,” Adv. Alberts said.
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