Dept clamps down on govt housing programme fraud

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pretoria – The Department of Human Settlements says 1 061 public servants from various national, provincial and local municipalities who fraudulently benefited from government housing programme were prosecuted between the 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial years.

The department’s Director General Thabane Zulu told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on Wednesday that a total of 1 002 of these officials were convicted and R17.9 million was recovered.

He said housing contracts worth R20 billion have been identified for investigation by the Special Investigating Unit at the request of the department in terms of the Presidential Proclamation of 2007.

“A total of 59 housing contracts worth R4 billion have already been investigated and finalized. These relate to the payment of contractors for incomplete and poorly constructed houses.  The SIU is currently conducting 13 criminal investigations on this matter,” said the department.

It said that potential public funds recoverable in this category of an investigation amount to R101 million

The department is also to implement its housing rectification programme soon to deal with defective houses built from 2002.

The Director General informed the Portfolio Committee that from the next financial year, no provincial business plans would be approved without bulk services.

Zulu said the department would be working very close with the Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector to make sure the two institutions were kept abreast of developments.

“We want to inculcate the culture of human rights in as far as human settlements is concerned,” he said.

“Our turnaround strategy talks to houses being closer to work, education, and health facilities. Gone are the days when housing development projects can take place far away from social and economic amenities,” said Zulu. –