The Times, 4 June 2008

PLEASE NOTE: Readers wishing to reproduce and reference this article
should contact the editors of the The Times for permission

The government must either change its policy of allocating RDP houses to foreign nationals or explain why it has done so, the DA said yesterday. This comes after it was revealed that immigrants had received low- cost homes in Alexandra township, the epicentre of the recent wave of xenophobic violence. The Gauteng housing department revealed in a report to the legislature’s housing portfolio committee that RDP houses in Alexandra were officially allocated to people who are not South African citizens, but hold permanent resident status. The report said that in seven cases, houses were allocated to people born in Mozambique and Zimbabwe who have permanent residency. The national housing code states that a person qualifies for a housing subsidy if they are lawful South African citizens or in possession of a permanent resident permit. The DA’s Kate Lorimer said: “During the last few weeks government has denied that it gave houses to foreigners. Perhaps government should change policy or explain why those with permanent residence get houses.” Lorimer said the policy raised questions about service delivery to South Africans. One of the people who received a house in Alexandra’s extension 7 was Mozambique-born Moses Arlindo Nhavoto. According to the housing department report he has lived in Alexandra for 20 years, has two South African-born children and no longer requires a permanent residence permit. Aviva Manqa, a spokeswoman for the Gauteng department of housing, said it stood by current allocation policies. She asked: “How does the department say he [Nhavoto] is not a South African if he has been here since before 1988? Surely he cannot become an alien just like that? “There is nothing untoward or fraudulent about the allocation of those houses. It was all done according to policy,” Manqa said.