Services bills- but no house

Municipal debt shock for PE woman not informed of RDP property allocated to her

A Nelson Mandela Bay woman is still destitute five years after her RDP house was approved but allocated to another resident. Thozama Charles, 54, said she submitted her first application for an RDP house in Motherwell 15 years ago.

Thereafter, she never received any form of communication from the municipality updating her on the status of the application – until five years ago, when she started getting threats from debt collectors representing the municipality.

Charles said that, in June 2012, she was shocked when she received a bill of more than R25 000 for services on a property she had never set foot on.

A warrant of execution was also issued by municipal lawyers for the house in Koliti Street, Ikamvelihle.

Charles said when she took the matter up in 2012 with the municipality, she was told the officials could not trace her to inform her that her application had been successful.

“That is far from the truth. I have always lived with my brother and used his address in Zwide, while waiting for this house.

“How did their lawyers manage to find me when I was threatened with legal letters?

“They were sent to the Zwide address. The human settlements department cannot now claim they could not trace me.”

In 2015, a preliminary metro-initiated audit submitted to the human settlements portfolio committee revealed a situation where, in one area, more than half of the houses audited were illegally occupied.

Of the 480 RDP houses audited in Ward 21, Kwazakhele, 255 were occupied by people who were not the registered beneficiaries.

In Ward 36, KwaDwesi, 189 of the 1 071 houses audited were not occupied by the rightful owners. Human settlements directorate executive director Nolwandle Gqiba said on Friday that the issue of beneficiary was very complex, and undertook to get an update.

Asked why the house was given to someone else, metro spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said: “Human settlements allocated the house to another resident as the house remained unoccupied.”

The balance owing was R687 and arrears were written off in terms of automatic assistance to the poor granted on properties with a value of R100 000 and less, he said.

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