ONE of the vandalised Morkel’s Cottage houses in Strand. Supplied
Cape Town - New government houses in Morkel’s Cottage in Strand have been vandalised to such an extent that occupation has become impossible.

Residents are blaming vagrants and drug addicts for the destruction.

“It’s very concerning and the residents are very scared. The project has cost a lot of money and for new houses to be vandalised in that state is horrific,” said Estie du Plessis.

Du Plessis works with an organisation that feeds the children at Morkel’s Cottage. She said that the homes had been vacant and ready for occupation.

“The residents are very scared to talk because the homes that have been vandalised have been used by drug addicts and the homeless have started sleeping in there,” she said.

So far four homes have been vandalised: electrical wires have been removed, the doors of the home have also been removed, windows have been smashed and the toilets and basins have been removed.

“There are so many people that are waiting for houses and then houses are getting vandalised and no one is doing anything about it,” said Du Plessis.

The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority started the construction of 547 semi-detached and detached single-storey houses in Morkel’s Cottage last year.

However, the Morkel’s Cottage development was delayed for various reasons, including environmental restrictions due to the presence of protected plant species on the site.

ONE of the vandalised Morkel’s Cottage houses in Strand. Supplied

The issues were resolved in December 2016, and the City decided to proceed with the development of the Morkel’s Cottage portion in January 2017. The total budget for the development is nearly R146 million.

Since October last year, 55 families have taken ownership of the new houses. The project is for beneficiaries from the informal settlements of Morkel’s Cottage, Beverley Hills and Dark City, as well as beneficiaries from the City's housing database.

Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “The information we have been able to ascertain is that these homes have been handed over to individuals already but they have not yet taken occupation.

“Now what happens in cases like this, once the units are handed over to the individuals it becomes their responsibility because it does not belong to the state anymore.

“This is why we encourage all our beneficiaries to take insurance immediately on their property because then the owners become their responsibility.”

Booi said that he would be doing a site visit within the coming days to assess the vandalised properties.


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Cape Argus