06 Apr 2011
Residents living in government-subsidised RDP houses may have to start paying for services in eThekwini and Housing Committee chairman, Nigel Gumede says that residents who can afford to pay for electricity, sanitation and rates should be charged accordingly.
He has called on council officials to prepare a discussion document so that the matter could be fully examined by the council. He says that in many cases residents had received government homes and had managed to extend these homes and therefore could afford to pay for the applicable charges.
He accused certain Durban residents of “hibernating among the poor” and living in government subsidised homes even though they had the money to afford to drive fancy motor cars and buy large screen plasma television sets.
The eThekwini council has built almost 150 000 RDP houses in the past ten years and yet thousands of residents living in these properties do not pay the council for basic services including refuse collection, sanitation or rates.
In terms of the council’s 2011/12 budget properties valued at less than R120k or less were exempt from rates charges.
Gumede says that some of the residents living in RDP houses may “once have been poor” but were no longer so.
Moreover, he says, many are living in the homes under the false pretence that they are unemployed but are actually working in their own entrepreneurial enterprises, sometimes earning enough money to afford to pay the rates and taxes.
“They are defrauding the system,” he claimed. He says that in several instances he has found that people who claim to be unemployed are actually paying UIF contributions monthly, which proves that they are working.
Apparently a proposal to charge people living in RDP houses for rates and services has been on the eThekwini council’s agenda for the past six months but has not been resolved.
Gumede’s suggestions have been welcomed by opposition parties who agree that thousands of people are fraudulently avoiding paying for rates and services in the eThekwini area.
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