The Western Cape Human Settlements Department urges residents to be aware of online housing scams that require you to pay government housing assistance. The Department recently became aware of a Facebook account, “RDP House Application 2022/2023”, where fraudsters pose as officials facilitating house, key and title deed approvals. A Cape Town resident is the latest victim to find out she was scammed after arriving at the Department’s office. Anticipating receiving a housing opportunity, she paid over R2,000 into a bank account to process her ‘letter of approval’ for a house in one of the Department’s projects in Mitchell’s Plain. This particular Facebook account is just one of many online housing scams preying on vulnerable residents. Residents should be aware that no payment is required to be placed on the housing application database (i.e. waiting list), to apply for a housing subsidy or any service related government housing.
Fraudulent scams are increasingly being reported and appearing on different platforms, especially on social media, asking citizens to: pay a deposit or holding fee for a government house; pay to be approved for a government housing opportunity; or to pay for the processing of an application, for example.
“In many cases, vulnerable residents fall prey to these scams in hopes of being helped or placed on the waiting list for a government housing opportunity. In most cases, money exchanged due to fraudulent scams is not recovered,” commented Ms. Kahmiela August, Acting Head of Department.
“The latest victim, of which the Department is aware, was scammed for over R2,000 by a certain ‘Mr Mashilo’ whom she met on a Facebook account. “Mr. Mashilo” posed as an official of the Department of Human Settlements and provided various fraudulent documents as proof that the resident will be helped with a house. Residents should be aware that no government official should ask you to pay any amount of money for government housing services,” Ms August added.
To be considered for a government housing opportunity, citizens must be registered with their local municipality’s housing database. To qualify for a government-subsidized home, residents must:
- Be a South African citizen or have a permanent residence permit.
- Be 18 or older.
- Being married or living with a partner.
- Be single or divorced and have proven financial dependents permanently living with them.
- Earn a household income of R3,500 or less, before deductions.
- Not be a current or past owner.
- Not having received a government housing subsidy before.
The Department also has various grants to help residents whose gross monthly income is between R3,500 and R22,000. Inquiries can be made at any municipal housing office.
The Department urges residents to be mindful of requests for government housing money and to be aware that:
- No exchange of money is required to get approved for a government subsidized home.
- You don’t have to pay to be on the housing database.
Residents are advised to contact the Department, or any municipal housing office, to verify and verify the legitimacy of a social media post or housing advertisement. To report any fraudulent scams, residents should contact their nearest SAPS office for assistance.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the South African Government.
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