RDP houses sold illegally

Greenville Garden Cities RDP houses in Ikhala Street.

A Fisantekraal housing project is still incomplete, but some beneficiaries have already sold their houses, in breach of their title deeds, for as little as R30 000.

The issue came up at a public meeting in Fisantekraal, where Durbanville police station commander Colonel Mary Cupido claimed Greenville Garden Cities beneficiaries were selling their homes to foreign nationals who were turning them into spaza shops.

The project is a joint partnership between residential developer Garden Cities, the City of Cape Town and provincial government.

Since its launch in March last year, 461 houses have been handed over and occupied by new owners at Greenville. Once completed, it will have 17 000 homes, with 12 primary and high schools, an integrated transport hub and community facilities.

The 767 hectare development is for Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing, social housing, gap housing and bonded housing.

Elsie Van Niekerk, who has been a backyarder in Fisantekraal for about four years, said she knew of beneficiaries who had sold their homes to foreign nationals on the very day their keys were given to them.“It is so frustrating. Why do they take the houses if they don’t want to live in them? There are people like me, who would give anything to have a home,” she said.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, confirmed that some of the beneficiaries were selling the houses in breach of a specific title deed condition prohibiting sale within the first eight years of them moving in.

Elizabeth Maans was one of the first beneficiaries to receive her home in March last year and said she could not understand how people could simply sell or rent out their house for very little money (“Home, sweet home,” Northern News, March 24 2016).“When I got my home, I cried tears of joy, and I wouldn’t give up my home for anything, especially having gone through what I did as a backyarder,” she said.Ms Maans said she knew of beneficiaries who had sold or rented out their homes. In one instance, a resident had sold her home for R30 000 to a foreign national, and the City had later reclaimed the house and awarded it to a new beneficiary.

Other beneficiaries, she said, were returning to backyard lodgings so they could rent out their homes for between R2 000 and R2 500 a month. Mr Herron said that on top of the title deed clause stopping immediate resale of the houses, the City’s housing allocation policy prohibited a beneficiary from renting their home until its transfer had been registered.

Those in breach of the policy also stood to forfeit the property, which the City could then allocate to the next applicant on its database.

“The City, therefore, strongly discourages the letting out of an RDP house that has been received by a beneficiary,” said Mr Herron.

Stoffel Boonzaier has been on the waiting list since 2001. He stays on the Meerendal farm but the 60-year-old wants nothing more than to move into his own home with his family. “We have been waiting so long and then people just go and sell their houses,” he said.

Backyard Annaline Beukes lives with her 71-year-old mother and has been on the waiting list since 2013. She pays R700 a month rent for a cramped shack that leaks when it rains “It is so cold and small. Everything gets damaged in winter,” she said.

Ms Beukes is angry about the houses being sold and said people should not take the houses if they don’t want to live in them.

“There are people who genuinely long for these houses, such as myself. We are living off my mother’s Sassa grant and have to pay rent — while these houses are given for free.”