Gauteng housing fraud

Janet Semple MPL Spokesperson on Housing More than 2 000 provincial and municipal officials in Gauteng were prosecuted for fraudulently benefitting from government housing programmes in the 2010/11 and 2011/12. None of the officials were suspended or sacked for their fraudulent activity, instead entering into Acknowledgement of Debts (AOD) agreements with the Gauteng Local Government and Housing Department to repay the R11.7 million lost. The figures were made available by Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe in response to my written question in the legislature. I asked the question following the recent report by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale indicating that 1 061 public servants were prosecuted across the country for housing fraud. A shocking 1 630 officials in provincial government departments alone were implicated, while a further 382 municipal officials across the province were involved. The DA in Gauteng is not satisfied with the manner in which the department has dealt with offending officials. The DA believes that offending officials must, at the very least, be dismissed from public office where appropriate following disciplinary and civil or criminal investigations. The MEC must explain why her department entered into AOD agreements instead of suspending or dismissing officials. The DA will question the MEC on the criteria and reasoning behind this dubious decision and approach to dealing with fraud. Housing is a critical issue in Gauteng as the provincial population continues to grow. Public servants who defraud the public purse and obstruct or manipulate the progress in delivering on housing needs across the province are unfit to occupy public office. The MEC must ensure the toughest appropriate action against officials who prioritise illegally stuffing their own pockets over the real needs of the people.

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