Cape Town - The construction of the Silvertown Emergency Housing Project in Khayelitsha where 342 households lost their shacks in a devastating fire in 2018 from the informal settlement is expected to commence early next year.
This was revealed by the Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers during a sod-turning ceremony on Tuesday which was prior to the handover of title deeds to 27 beneficiaries from Khayelitsha and Lentegeur in Mitchells Plain.
Simmers revealed that the provincial government had set aside over R240 million budget toward the project which would yield 1 542 units at 22m² each and will benefit the victims of natural disaster, elderly, disabled and vulnerable people.
“The department has spent R102 million in terms of bulk infrastructure. We appointed a contractor a month ago and construction is set to commence between early in the new year and February.
“One portion of the site has been invaded which is preventing a further 150 housing opportunities. The people have been waiting from 2018 for this and we have budgeted and committed to that. These will be the first multi-storey Permanent Residential Areas at 22m² flats and would be expanded to 44m² if possible.
“In between the administrative processes we had to engage the project steering committee because when the community is not involve, things tend to go slowly. The community has managed to assist us in ensuring that the bigger portion of the site is not invaded but could not unfortunately prevent the smaller portion,” said Simmers.
Community project steering committee chairperson Afika Ndlebe said despite the delays in the project the community was satisfied with the commencement of construction.
He said the community would take the responsibility of ensuring that the construction site was protected against vandalism and theft.
Meanwhile, 65-year-old Zoleka Mbokotwana, one of the 27 beneficiaries from Khayelitsha who had been waiting for her title deed for more than 30 years said this was a milestone for her family.
“Both my parents died without having received a title deed for our home in Gugulethu and this to me means I am now able to update my will and ensure that I leave my children and the following generations a home.
“We have seen homeowners being evicted from their houses they have stayed in for years and I have been worried of what might become of my family should that happen to us. I can at least now breathe a sigh of relief,” she said.