Those who sell the houses they receive under the government’s RDP programme will face criminal charges should human settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli get her way.
Under current laws, beneficiaries can only sell their house – with government approval – after occupying it for at least eight years.
But beneficiaries have been selling their houses before the lapse of that period, forcing Mlamleli to seek radical measures to stop the practice that has marred the RDP programme over the years.
She now wants the Free State provincial legislature to pass a law that will curb the practice.
Addressing residents of the farming town of Vrede, about 400km northeast of Bloemfontein, Mlamleli said her department was tired of “sweet-talking” RDP beneficiaries to refrain from selling their houses.
“We are now talking as government to come up with a law that will see those who sell houses which they pretended to be desperately in need of when applying to be arrested, prosecuted and jailed if possible,” she said.
“Why apply for an RDP house when you know you do not need it? That house could have been given to someone else but you for all I care!”
Mlamleli also cautioned would-be buyers of RDP houses to do so at their own peril as they would not live to see the day the title deeds of the houses are registered in their names.
“In principle these houses are not for sale – they are given to poor and needy people so that they can raise their families in proper shelter, and be an inheritance to generations of families to come,” the MEC said.
Mlamleli also had a word of advice for married women who for any reason are no longer living with their husbands in their RDP houses to know that as long as they remain legally married the houses will be still theirs too.
She said the only way a married woman in a non-formal break-up predicament can apply for her own RDP house is if she gets divorced from her husband through the courts.
“It should no longer be a taboo to be a divorcee, so stop hiding yourselves as if you did something wrong,” Mlamleli said. “If things did not work out why feel ashamed? At the end of the day you are the one left with the burden of raising the children and they need a home.”