The City of Cape Town’s crackdown on housing fraud has seen it secure two arrests within the last month, both in relation to fraudsters who have attempted to charge desperate and unsuspecting family’s money in order to access non-existent housing opportunities.
The City has also been beset by a number of other housing scams. These include legitimate beneficiaries being coaxed into paying money to be placed on a housing list, fraudsters charging people to receive RDP housing, as well as RDP homeowners selling their property before the expiration of an 8-year prohibition period on property sales.
Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen said the City are facing serious problems with regards to housing fraud, although it has been making progress in its attempts to eradicate the problem.
“What we are particularly concerned about is people charging money to beneficiaries to access housing opportunities. Here we are really pleased that we have managed to make two arrests, which are unrelated. We are certainly making headway in breaking up this kind of activity,” she noted.
One of the alleged suspects, Irma Jackson, is reported to be a former DA ward councillor and is accused of unlawfully soliciting money from the public with the promise of subsidised housing in Mitchell’s Plain. She is also believed to have a prior track record of fraudulent activity.
“It is very unfortunate that she has been involved in this issue…in this particular case she has in fact been arrested and is currently out on bail. We are continuing to investigate this matter,” van Minnen said.
Van Minnen urged the public to be aware that any person purporting to be a City representative offering housing opportunities in exchange for money was almost certainly a fraud. Furthermore, it was advised that such individuals be immediately reported to the police.
“You do not pay to be on the housing list or to get access to an RDP house if you are an accredited beneficiary,” she reiterated.
In the case legitimate RDP homeowners selling their property within the 8-year prohibition period, the City has warned that it will not allow for the transfer of properties in such cases. In addition, any money’s paid will not be reimbursed. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)