28 February 2017
For Immediate Release
City Arrests Two For Housing Scam
The Municipality’s City Integrity and Investigations Unit has issued a stern warning to fraudsters and the public after the arrest of two suspects involved in a housing scam last week.
The suspects, who were arrested during two separate sting operations were falsely using the names of two officials from the Municipality’s Human Settlements Unit. Victims who reported the matter to Municipal officials, said they were promised houses in the Cornubia Housing Development, in exchange for money.
The Human Settlements official, whose name had been falsely implicated in the elaborate syndicate, said he had found out about the illegal sales when people approached him about buying Municipal houses in the Cornubia development. This matter was then reported to the City Integrity and Investigation Unit who investigated and realised that the syndicate was operating falsely using the names of two other City officials. Working with the Metro Police and the Human Settlements Unit, they set up a sting operation to nab the fraudsters.
The houses were allegedly sold for R45 000 and more. After payments are made, the victim is given a letter bearing the eThekwini Municipality and the Provincial Department of Human Settlements logo. The unsuspecting victims are then told to go to City offices and collect keys to their new homes.
Mayor Zandile Gumede commended the quick action by the team saying that the public must remember that the City does not sell houses. “The Human Settlements Department follows a strict Cornubia Allocation Policy which was approved by Council on 31 March 2015. Houses in Cornubia, or at any City development are also not for sale,” she said.
She added that the city will not tolerate any form of fraud and corruption. “People must be aware that in most cases the people responsible for these scams are not municipal employees. We will do everything in our power to apprehend these criminals as such actions portray the city in a negative light.”
Councillor Gumede encouraged residents to continue reporting all forms of corruption, fraud, human rights violations and discrimination to the City Integrity and Investigations Unit on 0800 202020. Complaints can also be emailed to ombuds@durban.gov.za. The office is based on the 10th floor, 41 Margaret Mncadi Avenue (Victoria Embankment), Durban.
The suspects were handed over to the SAPS, where they will face criminal charges for corruption.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality, the Mayoral Parlour, Durban City Hall, 263 Dr Pixley kaSeme, Durban 4000
For more information contact: Mthunzi Gumede - Mayoral Spokesperson on 081 414 2510/073 989 6324 or email:mthunzi.gumede@durban.gov.za / mthunzi@gmail.com
Please read this confidentiality disclaimer: http://www.durban.gov.za/Pages/edisclaimer.aspx