City of Cape Town’s housing department hindered by land invasions, budget cuts
Cape Town - As the City of Cape Town’s housing department buckles under financial strain, a looming reduction in national grant funding of R84 million would impact on some housing projects in the new financial year.
This is according to Human settlements Mayco member Malusi Booi, who briefed the media on Friday after a week of land invasions in the metro.
“The reality is there is massive pressure on our housing programmes from land invasions and budget cuts and budget re-prioritisation to deal with the Covid-19 impact, especially on our most vulnerable communities,” he said.
Booi said they were looking at cuts of some R117m.
“This will affect housing projects and opportunities this year. But it is a catch-22 situation because we are also grateful that some of this money is going towards paying for the enhanced Covid-19 services to informal settlements. In light of all of this, it remains imperative that we get greater co-operation from the national ministry, as well as from the police, in our efforts to prevent illegal land invasions to safeguard opportunities for our beneficiaries,” he said.
In the previous financial year, the urban settlements development grant funding was cut by R115m. A further reduction of the national urban development grant of R84m is expected and this will likely impact on at least 10 housing projects to the value of more than R200m in this financial year.
“Added to this is the impact of what appears mostly orchestrated attempts to invade land and illegally occupy City projects which are threatening housing and upgrading of informal settlements to the value of some R1.3 billion. Should these projects be lost, it will not only be to the detriment of potential and future beneficiaries, but to the detriment of Cape Town as a community,” Booi said.
Development Action Group executive director Aditya Kumar said: “I believe these budget constraints won’t have an impact on service delivery and housing, primarily because they should use the urban settlements development and human settlements development grants. Historically the City has spent little of its allocation, so there has been consistent underspend. The pandemic should bring more creativity in the form of housing delivery.”