South Africa

Phalatse warns Joburg residents of rising RDP housing scams

JOHANNESBURG – The City of Johannesburg has warned that RDP housing scams are on the rise as the country grapples rising levels of unemployment, poverty and a defective housing system.

The city said its Department of Human Settlements had been inundated with walk-in and call enquiries from people who had lost their hard-earned money to scammers promising to help speed up the housing allocation process.

The platforms being used includes WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Mayor Mpho Phalatse said law enforcement officials were working hand-in-hand with the city to address the problem.

But with the desperation of prospective homeowners growing, so too are the tactics of those willing to take advantage.

An estimated 480,000 families in Johannesburg are still desperately waiting for houses.

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The “backlog” has become a lucrative playing field for criminal syndicates who are targeting residents and exposing the loopholes in the city’s human settlements department.

Phalatse said social media platforms had made it easier for perpetrators to swindle victims: “The Joburg Department of Human Settlements is currently in the process of getting all of its social media accounts verified to distinguish parody and fraudulent accounts from department official pages. We cannot let criminals get the final word.”

Asked if criminals are outsmarting a broken system, the mayor had this to say: “If you’ve got accomplices on the inside, you would be able to outsmart the system because you have inside information of how things work. It’s not only happening in the housing department.”

At least one City of Joburg official is expected to appear in court next month on fraud and corruption charges after charging a resident R4,000 to “process” her application.

#JoburgHousingScams Phalatse says unsuspecting people on the housing waiting list are being targeted by fraudsters who promise to help them “jump the queue”

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) July 21, 2022

#JoburgHousingScams Criminal syndicates running RDP housing scams in Joburg are “working closely” with officials within the Human Settlements department.

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) July 21, 2022

Artmotion S.Africa

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