South Africa, Johannesburg – The DA has accused the City of Joburg’s ANC administration of turning a blind eye to alleged illegal land sales facilitated by corrupt officials.
As a result, the DA said, the people of Protea South were failed by “corrupt councillors” who are part of a long-term trend that has seen RDP houses sold off to undeserving beneficiaries.
DA’s Ward 10 councillor in Soweto, Maureen Mnisi, said she had been inundated with calls from residents reporting cases of stands being unlawfully sold.
She said when issues were escalated to the City’s officials, no action was taken against perpetrators.
Mnisi said the Protea South Municipal Offices have become a corruption hub, in which suspected fraudulent dealings such as change of ownership take place.
“There appears to be a syndicate that orchestrates illegal land invasions and sales.
“In a recent case, a Protea South father sold his shack to a buyer for R75 000, leaving his children homeless. This illegal activity has divided the family, and such dealings would not be successful if officials were not facilitating these corrupt activities, by fraudulently assisting buyers with the change of ownership.
The father has moved to another informal settlement, which has no water, electricity, or toilets. He will be demanding these services from the City.
“The DA once again acknowledges the residents’ need for housing. This is why we continue to support plans and projects that aim to address the backlog. However, we cannot support illegal activities. We also cannot stand by and watch the ANC-led administration condone such behaviour by not acting on tip-offs,” she said.
Mnisi said they had previously attempted to intervene on behalf of residents by escalating reports to the City’s Director of the Department of Housing, Patrick Phophi. However, she said, they have been ignored.
“An appointment was scheduled with the Protea North Area Manager who did not honour our meeting for October 8.
“Corruption needs to be uprooted as it is delaying the housing development and service delivery that is needed in Protea South. The DA will not allow corruption to prevail in the City of Johannesburg. We will continue to pursue these cases and ensure that justice prevails.”
City spokesperson Nthatsisi Modingoane said they had noted with concern illegal land occupations across the municipality, particularly in outlying areas.
He said this remained illegal and “illegal selling of land is a criminal offence”.
“The City will continue to work in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to clamp down on illegal activities by syndicates misleading our communities.
“Corruption and malfeasance have no place in the City of Johannesburg as these delay community development projects,” said Modingoane.
He said the City encouraged residents to report these activities to the 24 hour tip-off hotline 0800 002 587 or visit the GFIS offices at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein.
Asked whether the City was aware of the DA’s complaints, Modingoane said:
“Like everyone else, the DA must report such to GIFS with all relevant evidence. Working together with SAPS and Group Forensic and Investigation Service will ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.”
He did not respond to the DA’s allegations that some City officials could be involved.
In 2017, the ANC fired a councillor who sold two city-owned property stands for a combined R210 000.
In 2014, former City of Joburg employee Sifiso Handsome Litau was slapped with a five-year sentence, suspended for five years, for illegally selling municipal land.
People who bought that land had their homes demolished as it was found they had built on the illegally acquired land.