Gauteng department of human settlements deputy director-general Keith Khoza has reportedly confirmed to The Star the department has instructed its fraud and anti-corruption unit to investigate Ekurhuleni’s ethics and integrity committee chairperson, Morris Chauke.
In a series of articles written by the publication, Chauke was implicated in the alleged fraudulent sales of an RDP house belonging to Siphiwe Shongwe.
Shongwe reportedly resided in a shack for 20 years despite owning the government-issued house, and was burdened with municipal debt of more than R20 000 for services she never accessed.
Another resident, Gunikaya Dwenga, had claimed to the publication Chauke sold him municipal land for R15 800 – R14 000 was for the stand and R1 800 for “legal fees”. Ekurhuleni metro police subsequently reportedly informed the publication the stand number Dwenga received from Chauke was invalid.
Khoza is said to have stated his department had been tracking Chauke for alleged housing corruption in other cases, but they never came to fruition, and that they had been dealt with externally by officials outside of the department.
“That’s why we are starting a renewed investigation, where we have full control. We will investigate the validity of the allegations and take them to their full conclusion. Allegations were made against Chauke in the past, but unfortunately we did not see the outcome because at the time all the cases were referred to the special crimes office for investigation. Subsequently, we have set up our own unit to conduct the investigations,” Khoza said.
Shongwe is understood to have received a new low-cost house from the department, but MEC Paul Mashatile warned that would not be the end of it, as “Shongwe’s allocation of a house does not disqualify the fact that someone might have benefited illegally from a government house”.
Sphelele Nxele, spokesperson for Ekurhuleni’s speaker, Patricia Khumalo, who is Chauke’s political head, said the speaker’s office had yet to be notified of the investigations against Chauke.
“But the speaker’s office welcomes the investigation, and will provide assistance as required during the course of the probe,” Nxele said.