Mashaba concerned about increase in Joburg housing scams


JOHANNESBURG, June 6 – Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday he was worried about the increasing number of housing scams in the city.

This as Linah Maphopha, who allegedly ran a housing scam in the Ivory Park area, was granted R1,000 bail on Wednesday by the Rabasotho Magistrate’s Court in Tembisa.

“I have learned with shock that this is not the first time that the suspect is arrested for the same offence. The suspect was also arrested last year for illegally selling two RDP houses for R150 000,” Mashaba said.

“I am worried about the increasing number of such arrests but also happy that we as the City are doing something about it to bring this to an end.”

Maphopa was arrested on Tuesday and is accused of illegally selling an RDP house for R81,000. She was charged with fraud and corruption and is expected to appear in court again on July 8.

Maphopha is a former volunteer who was working for the City’s department of housing stationed at Lord Khanyile Community Centre in Ivory Park.

In May 2018, the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) department received a complaint from a resident of Ivory Park alleging that she bought an RDP house from a certain City of Johannesburg volunteer stationed at Lord Khanyile Community Centre.

The resident alleged that the suspect wanted a deposit of R40,000 and the balance of R40,000 would be paid at a later stage. The complainant was shown an RDP house which the suspect claimed belonged to a foreign national and that the City was taking it away from the occupant.

The complainant then allegedly agreed to the sale of the RDP house for a total of R81,000.  The amount was paid into the suspect’s bank account in February 2017.

But when the complainant realized that she had been scammed, she reported the matter to GFIS and the police. Maphopa was arrested following investigations into the matter.

“I’m appealing to anyone who might have information on the illegal sale of stands and RDP houses to please come forward. The information will assist our law enforcement agencies as they continue to investigate these cases throughout the City,” Mashaba said.

“Corruption has no place in this administration and we will work tirelessly, and in collaboration with institutions such as the Hawks, SAPS and all other institutions within the criminal justice system to ensure that the residents of Johannesburg receive the quality services they deserve.”

– African News Agency (ANA)