‘We need each other to build houses’
A fifth of people registered on the province’s housing waiting list can qualify for a bond, says Premier Helen Zille.
Speaking at a Human Settlements indaba in the city on Monday, Zille said that of the 500 000 people on the province’s housing waiting list, about 100 000 could get a loan for a house.
“People who can afford to live in a bonded house are living in rental stock and backyards,” said Zille. “We have to speak openly and honestly about housing if we want solutions. We know there is a housing crisis in the Western Cape, and we have to work together get out of this.”
Zille said the three spheres of government were central to delivering housing opportunities for those who were desperately in need of shelter.
“However, we have to keep politics out of it,” she said. “Each sphere of government has a specific role. The province gets funds from the fiscus in proportion to the population in the Western Cape, based on the last census in 2001.”
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said the city needed the support of both the provincial and national governments to build houses.
“One sphere cannot build houses without the other,” said De Lille. “We also cannot use the 2001 census to determine how much money should be spent. A lot has changed since 2001. The money we receive from the national government is based on the 2001 census, from figures of how many people were without houses. The population has grown three-fold since then.”
De Lille said the housing crisis had become a “blame game” in the city.
“This indaba is very significant. We have to work together and all three spheres have to be on the same page when it comes to housing delivery.”
Zille said the perfect time to bring politics into housing was before an election, in a party manifesto.
“We have to create a culture of active citizenship,” she said. “The big issue is community resistance. We see a lot of service delivery protests, which are actually anti-delivery protests around housing.”
Zille faced a barrage of questions from angry community members who attended the indaba.
Mario Wanza, of the Proudly Manenberg campaign, said that the government was not addressing the needs of the poor.
“We have a plan if the government does not want to come to the party,” said Wanza.
“We will target and take over the Rondebosch common, the Mowbray golf course and parts of Hout Bay.”
Yusrah Adams, of Zille Rain Heights, said people who had been on the waiting list for decades were suffering.
“We’ve been on the bucket system for the past five years,” said Adams.
Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said his department was embarking on a new strategy to create more serviced sites in informal settlements.
He said the department was no longer “chasing numbers”.
“Because of the global fiancial crisis, we will have to do more with less,” said Madikizela.
“We have to spend more money providing basic services, and also unlock the gap market for people earning between R3 500 and R15 000 a month.”
Deputy Human Settlements Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks said that more than two million people were registered on the national housing waiting list, 500 000 of which were in the Western Cape.
She said that housing delivery was not the responsibility of the government alone.
“Everyone has to come on board,” said Kota-Fredericks. “There is an acute shortage of land, but we are doing our best with what we have. We cannot deliver homes to everyone immediately – resources are limited.”
The two-day indaba, hosted by the provincial government and attended by representatives of more than 100 community organisations, ends on Tuesday.
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