Cape Town -
Tenants in Ocean View are furious at the City of Cape Town for giving them only two weeks to settle outstanding rent of thousands of rand before they may receive new houses.
Naziela McLean, 39, who lives in a one-bedroomed Ocean View apartment with her husband and five children is among 50 tenants identified under the city’s housing allocation policy to receive a house as part of the R84 million Mountain View Housing Project.
McLean said she was appalled to receive a letter from the city two weeks ago, stating that if she did not settle her rental arrears by this Thursday, she would not receive her house.
“When they first informed me that I was a successful beneficiary for the house early last year, I was so excited. But these past few days have been so stressful. There is no way we will be able to pay all that money by the end of this week,” she said.
McLean and her husband are unemployed and owe R17 000 for their rent. They have been on the housing waiting list since 1991.
Mayoral committee member for human settlements Siyabulela Mamkeli said 35 applicants for the project were in arrears of more than R1 000 and 15 who owed less than R1 000 or had paid in full.
“The policy condition for this is that they must settle their arrears or make necessary arrangements to settle them. Letters were sent to the 35 families recently, but I have received no response from them yet,” Mamkeli said.
It was not possible for the tenants not to have known about the requirement that they settle their arrears.
“They would have been informed months ago.”
Resident Shaheeda Marney said she did not mind settling her arrears, but it was unfair of the city to tell her a few days before she was to move out.
“All I want is to live in a house where I feel safe and that has a yard for my children to play in. If they had told us earlier, I’d have made a plan to pay some of my arrears.”
The project is a World Design Capital 2014 Project. It is to provide 543 housing opportunities for residents from the informal settlement in Mountain View and applicants listed in the housing database.