News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday September 26th 2017

Former ward councillor charged with housing fraud

Former Makhaza ANC ward councillor Thobile Ludidi has denied he illegally sold housing plots.

He told the Khayelitsha Regional Court the allegations against him were part of a political plot to oust him.

Ludidi and his co-accused, ward development forum secretary Ndumiso Dayimani, have been charged with fraud.

They are on R2 000 bail.

According to the state the accused sold housing plots to people living in the K-Section informal settlement for as little as R5 000 and shared the money among themselves.

After the unsuspecting buyers had bought the housing plots, they were promised their names would be included on the provincial housing database and pushed to the front of the list.

There was drama in court recently when Ludidi’s supporters clashed with the members of the public who had reported the situation to the authorities and whose testimony had resulted in the corruption charges.

On Tuesday, Dayimani and Ludidi’s supporters prevented this West Cape News reporter from taking notes in court by stealing her pen and threatening to stab her.

They claimed to know where she stayed and threatened they “would come after her”.

Testifying in court, Ludidi denied he had ever sold any housing plots.

He said the people who had lodged the criminal charges against him were disgruntled because they had not been hired to work on the construction of houses at the Ithembalabantu housing project underway in K-Section, Khayelitsha.

“I did not have the authority to change the beneficiary list,” Ludidi said.

He said some members of the ANC in his ward had used the members of the community to help oust him from his position as ward councillor.

“These are the ones who are spreading rumours that I am selling land to people,” Ludidi said.

He said when he was arrested in February last year he received a telephone call from Vuyiseka Mgwandi, a witness in the case, asking him for money.

Referring to the undercover police investigation that led to his arrest after he allegedly accepted money in exchange for a guaranteed house in the project, he said the money had come to him through Dayimani and he had later tried to pay the money back.

The arrest of the two men came after backyarders held a protest claiming Ludidi was illegally selling plots in the Ithembalabantu housing project. The protest erupted again in August when residents prevented construction from starting at the site.

During his questioning of Ludidi state prosecutor Nico Bryl said: “You sold them plots for R5 000, you did not give them receipts and you used the money for yourself.

“You let your community down, the same people who voted for you to be a councillor. That’s why they reported you.”

He said the amount of R1 300 found in Ludidi’s possession was money that belonged to the state. The case has been postponed until February 9. — Nombulelo Damba

 

Tags: corruption, Housing, Ithembalabantu housing project, Khayelitsha, Khayelitsha Regional Court, Ndumiso Dayimani, Nico Bryl, Thobile Ludidi

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