Umzimvubu Mayor allegedly scores RDP houses for herself

Veliswa Mvenya MPL

Phesheya Kwenciba Constituency

The Umzimvubu Municipality has allegedly built two RDP-houses in the yard of the mayor, Khulukazi Phangwa, while poor and needy families continue to live in adverse conditions.

Umzimvubu mayor Khulukazi Phangwa and people close to her have allegedly been benefitting from a local RDP-housing scheme while destitute families in the poorest district of the Transkei, Eastern Cape continue to live in makeshift huts and leaking shacks.  Umzimvubu is part of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality which was last year found to have the highest poverty rate in the country, at 83, 2%, by the South African Institute for Race Relations.

I have submitted legislature questions to the MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls-August, for a full breakdown of allocations of RDP houses in the area and how it came about that two RDP-houses were built on the mayor’s property in Ward 3 of Danti Administrative Area in Mount Ayliff.  If the mayor has been involved in any corrupt dealings concerning housing in the area, it must be exposed.

During an outreach visit last week I was shocked when I saw families living in houses with no roof and who go to bed on empty stomachs. Nearby a child-headed family of six kids live in a small rondavel with no windows and no food to eat.

I almost collapsed when I saw the mayor’s large, modern house and two new RDP houses in the same yard. I was informed that these houses were built after she had been elected as the mayor, the first one last year and the second one this year. Other well-connected families have allegedly also received RDP houses in a disgraceful act of self-benefit, at the expense of the poor.

Mrs. Phangwa is the mayor of one of the poorest districts in the country.  The area has also been ravaged by natural disasters, but to date the municipality has done little. She stands accused of being selfish and corrupt, driving state vehicles filled with municipal fuel and grabbing services for herself.

I have written to the Public Protector to request for an investigation into the allegations.  If they are true, the mayor should be fired, prosecuted and jailed. We cannot allow that the scourge of corruption and self-interest continues while the poorest of our people are left out in the cold.

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