Answer to a question from a reader

My ex used my ID number to apply for RDP housing. Now I don't qualify.

The short answer

You need to report this fraud to the Department of Human Settlements and escalate if necessary.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

I was married out of community of property by Islamic law. I just found out my ex husband applied for RDP housing using my ID number after we got divorced. I have remarried and want to apply for my own house, but I am already on the database listed as a spouse, so I do not qualify for a house. 

How can I fix this?

The long answer

To knowingly misrepresent you as his current wife when you were already divorced, is certainly fraud. 

Fraud is defined in law (Snyman, Criminal Law 3rd Edition, 1995) as follows: “Fraud is the unlawful and intentional making of a misrepresentation which causes actual prejudice or which is potentially prejudicial to another.”

In this case, it is clearly prejudicial (harmful) to your chances of successfully applying for an RDP house. 

So what can you do?

I think the place to start is by making a sworn affidavit stating that your ex husband used your ID to misrepresent you as his spouse in his application for an RDP house, after you had divorced, without your knowledge. You had been married by Islamic law, not a civil marriage in community of property. You should give details and dates of your marriage and your divorce, and how and when you discovered that your ID had been used by your ex-husband to cite you as a spouse. This fraudulent misrepresentation has meant that you yourself are unable to apply for an RDP house with your husband, as your ID is already on the database as a spouse. You need the Department of Human Settlements to take steps to remove your ID from the database, so that you can apply for an RDP house.

You need to take this affidavit to the housing office where you tried to apply for an RDP house and ask them to assist you. You need to keep a careful record of the dates and names of officials you speak to (editor’s emphasis). If they are unhelpful, you can go to the offices of the Department of Human Settlements, again taking your sworn affidavit with you and explain that as your ID has not been removed from the database, you wish to make a complaint.  

If you are in Cape Town, there is a Helpdesk in the offices in 27 Wale Street, which provides assistance. 

Operational Hours

Monday To Friday: 07h30 until 15h00

All walk-in clients will be assisted on a first come basis.


If you are still not assisted, you can escalate your complaint to the MEC for Human Settlements (Housing) for your province. In each province the MEC must take note of complaints which have not been resolved by the municipality. The MEC can instruct the municipality to resolve it and has the power to reverse any unfair decision made by the municipality. To find the contact details of the Housing MEC in your province, call the Housing Enquiries Hotline: 0800 146 873

If the MEC does not help you, there is an Ombudsman for Human Settlements. An ombudsman is an official who must take up complaints against public and government organisations. These are the contact details:


Call Centre: 0800 146 873 (weekdays 08h00 – 15h30)

These are the stated aims of the Ombudsman:

2.1 Improve openness and transparency in the Human Settlements Sector
2.2 Increase public confidence in Government,
2.3 Improve efficiency, effectiveness of government operations as it relate to Human Settlements,
2.4 To provide an accessible mechanism for redress in the Human Settlements Sector (as opposed to time-consuming, costly judiciary processes)
2.5 Drastically reduce (and ultimately eliminate) the number of human settlement related complaints directed to:
      2.5.1 The Minister of Human Settlements directly; and
      2.5.2 External parties (Presidential hotline, Public Protector, courts)
2.6 Promote constitutional right to housing

I have bolded 2.4, as, though you could also approach a lawyer to ask the court to order that your ID be removed from the database, it is likely to be a longer, more drawn-out process. 

I have bolded 2.6, as your constitutional right to housing is being blocked by your ex husband’s misrepresentation of you as his current spouse, using your ID, and you should not forget this, even if it takes time to resolve.  

Legal Aid is a means-tested organisation which must assist people who cannot afford a lawyer. These are their contact details:


Legal Aid Advice Line (Toll-free): 0800 110 110

Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179.

You could also approach the Women’s Legal Centre in Cape Town for legal help:

Address: Constitution House, 5 St Georges Mall, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000


Phone: 021 424 5660

Finally, you could also contact Pro Bono, a legal organisation that will take a case on without charge if they think it is in the public interest.


Johannesburg: 011 339 6080

Cape Town: 087 806 6070/1/2

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 15, 2024, 10:22 p.m.

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