Pretoria – Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile, has praised the residents of the Emzabalazweni informal settlement in Ivory Park for apprehending an alleged fraudster.
A man, believed to be in his 30s, allegedly approached community members and asked them if they had registered for RDP houses.
“It is alleged the suspect further informed the community members that if they did not register, come 3 August, he will send the Red Ants to demolish their shacks as no one will be allowed to register for houses after the Local Government Elections,” said the provincial government.
Residents then asked the suspect to verify his identity. He allegedly said he is employed by Department of Housing at the Ekurhuleni Municipality.
“The community members immediately realised that something was wrong because Ivory Park falls under City of Joburg not Ekurhuleni Municipality. The suspect was also found with other document containing government logos.
“He was then taken to African National Congress (ANC) offices for further interrogation. South African Police Services (SAPS) members were called and he was then handed over to the police,” said the provincial government.
Residents were praised for being vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
“We will never know the extent of the damage the person would have caused to the community if they had fallen for his lies,” said MEC Mashatile.
He warned other residents in Gauteng to be vigilant as unscrupulous people will use the election period to misinform and take advantage of people’s valid concerns.
Plans to reopen the human settlements customer care centres in five regions in Gauteng are at an advanced stage.
“The customer care centre will be a one-stop-shop for all the housing needs of residents and that will deter them the operations of the fraudsters as the community will have places nearby that will give them all the information they need in relation to human settlements,” he said.
MEC Mashatile said the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements will continue to give houses to all the qualifying and deserving residents of the province.
Residents can call the department’s anti-fraud and corruption unit on (011) 355 4229/4326 to report incidents of fraud and corruption.