Beneficiaries of a Khayelitsha housing project have spoken out about alleged fraudulent sales and illegal occupations of their houses. The Mandela Park Housing Project 823 has been constructed in phases over the past eight years and is nearing its completion, but has been wracked by sporadic protests – often violent – by Mandela Park backyarders over the fact that beneficiaries are from Gugulethu informal settlements.West Cape News established this week that backyarders have illegally occupied about ten state-subsidised houses in the housing project since the beginning of the month, moving in as soon as, and sometimes before, the contractor completed them.
Additionally, the locks on about 15 of the houses to be occupied by beneficiaries have been changed by people attempting to lock the beneficiaries out and claim the houses for themselves.
Backyard dweller LuvoVanyaza also this week claimed the houses are being sold illegally.
“We found out that more than ten houses have been sold illegally by the beneficiaries and the contractor involved. We all know it’s illegal to sell an RDP house and we want those houses to come to us as backyarders.” said Vanyaza.
He said the backyarders had proof of beneficiaries selling houses and going back to live in informal settlements.
Meanwhile, a beneficiary from Gugulethu who wished to remain anonymous said she went to the company contracted to build the houses, Chiware Construction, to find out if her house was completed.
She said she was shocked to discover her name had been taken off the list of beneficiaries.
She said a foreman offered to sell a house to her, explaining that they sold the houses for which beneficiaries had died or moved away from the city.
And Zanele Ngqukuvane, who became a beneficiary after her mother’s death recently, said when she tried to move into her house she found that her keys had been given to someone else who claimed to have bought the as-yet-unfinished house from the building contractor.
She said fortunately she had a title deed and was able to prove she was the rightful inheritor but the ‘purchaser’ kept returning to the house.
“I heard that she said she’s coming back to put burglar bars on the house so I may not get access,” said Ngqukuvane.
The Chiware Construction site manager, when interviewed, refused to give his name or comment on the allegations.
“We are contractors, our job is to build houses, that’s all,” he said.
Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela’s spokesperson Zalisile Mbali said: “We’ve been asking people to come forward with the information, especially in Mandela Park.”
“We cannot do anything if the people are not coming forward with proof,” he said. – Nombulelo Damba, West Cape News