James Masango MPL DA Mpumalanga Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition Mpumalanga’s poor will continue to suffer at the hands of swindlers as long as government delays handing over title deeds to beneficiaries of RDP houses. The slow pace of the title deed registration process has created a gap for the illegal RDP market, where people unlawfully buy and sell government-funded houses. This not only keeps the poor on the street or in shacks, but also harms government’s service delivery programmes as informal settlements without basic services continue to increase. The province’s housing challenges can be reduced if the registering of RDP houses was quicker and more effective. According to the Housing Act beneficiaries must receive title deeds within three months of handover, and may not sell these homes within eight years. In 2010 former human settlement MEC Madala Masuku admitted that illegal occupancy of RDP houses was a serious problem and promised to personally evict all illegal occupants. Apart from the expulsions, the MEC was to ensure the rightful beneficiaries were traced and their title deeds handed over, as well as taking action against those who illegally sold RDP houses. To date, thousands of beneficiaries are still without title deeds and houses, while heartless opportunists exploit their desperation by “buying” and “selling” RDP homes and stands illegally. This is in stark contrast to the DA-led Western Cape, where its Department of Human Settlements initiated a Title Deeds Programme in order to eradicate this backlog. To date that has been reduced to 28% through the issuing of 20 400 title deeds to individuals who should have previously received them. The DA will submit written parliamentary questions human settlements MEC Andries Gamede requesting an explanation of the deed registration process and what measures are in place to reduce the backlog in speed up registration. We will also ask the MEC to explain what is being done to counter illegal occupancy, how many illegal occupants have been evicted since 2010 and what action has been taken against those who illegally purchased or sold RDP houses. Government promises people the dignity of owning their own homes, and must act against those who deny thousands of people dignity and financial security.