By Umamah Bakharia
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) warns citizens to be aware of online Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) housing scam artists who promise to provide victims with housing and then disappear with their money.
Radio Islam speaks to the Department of Human Settlements spokesperson, Mandula Maphumulo, on ways to detect these scams.
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) says it has identified that con artists use social media pages to lure in people to give them money in return for a home.
“The department has come across several pages on social media, claiming to assist people to apply for BNGs. Some of these scammers (promise) to assist people who applied for ‘RDP houses since 1196’ and others ‘assist’ with online applications for 2021/2022,” the DHS said.
It adds that responses should only come from the government with an official stamp.
“The major point [on RDP housing] is that at no point does government receive money from citizens. So when there is going to be an allocation of houses or when you become eligible to get a house, there is no payment that exchange hands. If anyone asks for payment, then you should know that it’s a scam,” says Maphumulo.
However, in some cases, people who receive RDP housing sell their homes. According to the department, someone wanting to sell their RDP home cannot do so in the first eight years of occupancy, after which it must be offered to the State first.
Maphumulo says people sell their homes and end up living in shacks again, and the process then continues.
“It ends up being a revolving door with people who sell their [RDP] houses.”
Someone is eligible for RDP housing if they are a South African citizen, have a household income of less than R3 500 and have not received previous housing from the government.