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City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government slammed for 'weak' housing programme

The Nyanga housing project near Landsdown road in Zwelitsha. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

The Nyanga housing project near Landsdown road in Zwelitsha. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 14, 2021


Cape Town - The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government has been slammed for their "weak" housing programme and how the number of built housing units has collapsed over the years.

Housing activists, politicians and pressure groups say there has been increasing pressure for housing, but the City leadership has paralysed delivery and other services through internal DA politics and not because housing professionals were unable to deliver.

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Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson said with every election promises were made by DA candidates. In 2017 the City under Patricia de Lille identified well-located land in the inner-city for low cost housing.

After De Lille left, those projects were stopped, Dickson said.

"The truth in this matter is that the City has an ineffectively maintained housing list of over 300 000 people. This list grows annually instead of decreasing," said Dickson.

SACP provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said the City has had no housing development which addressed apartheid spatial planning.

"What the City does have is an on paper pipeline of possible future housing developments. That is either at feasibility study level or not at all," said Ngqentsu.

Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers said the view held was quite unfortunate. "We’re wholly focused on improving the lives of our residents and unlike others do not allow politics to hamper and or influence this process."

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Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said in 2017 he announced a new approach to address the housing challenge comprehensively.

Herron said at the time, they introduced a 10-point turnaround plan to both the Provincial Department of Human Settlements and the National Department of Human Settlements.

"In the 2015/16 financial year the City delivered 4 293 new housing opportunities. I was appointed to lead Housing on January 1, 2017 and we managed to complete the 2016/7 financial year with improved delivery of 6 028 new housing opportunities," he said.

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He said after he resigned, delivery dropped to 5 692 housing opportunities in the 2018/19 financial year.

He said in the 2019/20 financial year they had planned to deliver nearly 10 000 housing opportunities (9683) but only 3 523 were actually delivered and in the process deprived more than 6 000 families of a housing opportunity that year.

"In 2020/21 we had planned to deliver 11 000 housing opportunities (11088) but the City revised the target down and managed to deliver 4950 of which only 2587 were actual houses."

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Human Settlements Mayco member, Malusi Booi, said close to R6.9 billion would go to Human Settlements projects over the next three years, including R2.5bn for formal housing on well-located land, and R4.4bn for informal housing upgrades, backyarders, and new accommodation types.

Booi said over 13 300 housing opportunities were currently under construction, with a further 8000 in the construction tender phase, and 37 500 opportunities in the planning stage as at June 2021.

In March, the Cape Argus highlighted the housing backlog in the province, “Western Cape struggles to tackle growing housing backlog” and Simmers back in January, revealed there were 595 232 applicants on the Housing Demand Database, 369 542 in the metro and 225 690 applicants outside of the metro.