AA - March 2022

Author:  Tertuis Simmers
Human Settlements MEC
18 March 2022

Cape residents face stern action over illicit sale of their state-subsidised homes

Cape Town – Beneficiaries of Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses, which were formerly known as RDP housing, have been warned that if they sell their state-subsidised homes without following due process they will face the full force of the law.

This was according to Human Settlements MEC, Tertuis Simmers, when he conducted an impromptu visit to the Highbury Park Housing Project in Kuils River, following numerous social media posts showing the illegal sale of BNG houses.

BNG houses are governed by the 1997 Housing Act which states that the houses cannot be sold within the first eight years of acquisition unless the dwelling has first been offered to the relevant provincial housing department.

Simmers visited three BNG units in the development and found that each had been illegally sold and now had new occupants.

He spoke with the current occupiers and informed them of the position in law. He told them that given the fact that they had paid certain amounts for these homes, they’d have to engage the sellers about refunding them.

He told them that they would need to consider reporting the matter to the police for further investigation.

He said none of the original beneficiaries contacted or informed his department of their intention to sell and neither did they first offer the house back to the province as required by the Act.

“I cannot allow individuals to defraud the state in this manner. There are currently 568 000 people registered on the Western Cape Housing Demand Database who are waiting to be assisted by the state.

“The unlawful actions of these individuals are a smack in the faces of those who are still waiting.”

Simmers said he would be meeting with provincial Legal Services in due course to obtain advice on possible criminal charges against those who abuse the state housing schemes for their own enrichment.

In October last year, the issue was in the news, after the Patriotic Alliance (PA) Western Cape deputy leader Sammy Claassen claimed the party was aware of illegal foreigners who were buying or renting residential BNG homes and converting them into spaza shops or putting them to other commercial use.

At the time, Mayco Member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said: “The whole point of receiving a subsidised house is to move beneficiaries out of informality, to assist with access to affordable housing and to give beneficiaries an asset that they can leave to their children or decide what to do with when the eight-year restrictive clause comes to an end.”

In January SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) provincial chairperson, Bongikhaya Qhama, said stricter measures were required to discourage home owners from selling their RDP houses.

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