Controversy erupts over Belhar-Pentech housing project beneficiaries
It’s emerged that potential beneficiaries did not qualify for the housing project despite falling within the April 1999 deadline.
ANC ward councillor Delmaine Cottee said: “Every day we have residents of the area come into our offices complaining that they have registered on the housing database before the deadline expired in April 1999, but they were told that they do not qualify. Meanwhile, other residents who already have title deeds are moving in.”
Last year, Cottee submitted a motion proposing that the City launch a forensic audit of the housing allocation. The motion was not supported and instead sent to the City’s housing department for investigation. In November, the department said that all 340 beneficiaries were approved for the project.
The department probed the allocation records and confirmed that all the records were verified and the beneficiary list was valid.
Cottee dismissed these findings: “This I do not believe. I am every single day meeting with residents who are complaining. I have gathered a list of beneficiaries who say they are on the database and it is confirmed, but the City said they did not qualify. I am not going to let this go and I will take it further.”
The R57million Belhar-Pentech Breaking New Ground housing project started in 2018. It entailed building semi-detached and free-standing single-storey houses, as well as the installation of electrical infrastructure, street lighting and pavements.
The project is scheduled for completion in June. In a motivation for the City to institute a forensic investigation, Cottee said 45 local residents (including disabled people) and others listed as “flagged” and “pending for the project” had been on the housing waiting list for more than 30 years, but were not considered.
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the beneficiary verification process took place between 2011 and 2014. The City’s human settlements directorate investigated the allocation records and confirmed all records were verified and the beneficiary list was valid, he said.
“This has been supported by council structures. The need for housing is acute and that is why the allocation process is strictly controlled and beneficiaries are sourced from the audited housing database. In this case, as can be seen, the beneficiary lists have been declared valid,” Booi said.@MarvinCharles17