A DURBAN man has been sentenced to three years in prison for fraud. Zithulele Zondi asked more than 180 people who lived in shacks in and around eThekwini to pay R220 to him so that the municipality can build them houses.
When the police were alerted to the scam, they acted swiftly and arrested him. During the arrest, he was found in possession of Abahlali Basemjondolo’s (Shack Dwellers) membership forms.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda has welcomed the sentencing. Kaunda said this will send a strong message to criminals who are taking advantage of the plight of landless people.
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Kaunda urged the people of KwaZulu-Natal to be vigilant of dubious organisations and people who claim to represent their interests. He said that such fraudulent practices create expectation from poor people which ultimately leads to illegal public protests.
“As the provincial government, we remain committed in assisting landless and homeless people to get proper houses and since 1994 government has been able to build over four million houses for the poor,” said Kaunda.
He also warned organisations and individuals who are at the centre of land invasions in the province that government will not tolerate such acts of criminality. “Government has a clear process on how people are allocated houses and we urge people to follow that process. “If they need clarity they must get in touch with their councillors, municipalities and the department of human settlement in the province,” said Kaunda.