Land grabs happening in Hout Bay due to the need for housing. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - Residents from Hangberg, Hout Bay, are up in arms over the City’s decision to build an electricity depot on land that was supposed to be used for housing.

They have accused the City of not taking the housing issue seriously and not consulting with them.

“Housing is a massive problem and the situation is dire, and talks with the City of Cape Town have always failed,” said Hangberg resident Lee Smith.

He said the City had not communicated with residents about its plans,

“There are a number of small projects happening in Hangberg and the City promised us a formal housing project in October last year. We are still waiting for it to be started,” he said.

The Electricity Depot project is being built on Erf 9652 in Hangberg. It is one of four pieces of land purchased by the City of Cape Town to build houses for the people of Hangberg.

In November last year, the City said it was weighing up options to provide alternative housing to fire-affected Hout Bay residents.

About 93 people were displaced when a fire ripped through a section of the Hangberg Improvement Development Area. Families were moved to the Hout Bay Civic Centre as an interim solution, while the authorities found alternative housing for them.

Eddie Thompson, another resident, said: “Housing is more important than an electricity depot, unless they have decided to build the depot to provide electricity for the houses they still plan on building, in which case they must tell us. They have not provided any information about this.”

The Hout Bay Civic Association said they were demanding that the project be halted and for the proper process to be followed.

“We don’t accept the City of Cape Town’s logic that the land can’t be used,” said secretary Roscoe Jacobs.

“We request clarity as to how this decision was taken without consultation through a public participation process. We have demanded that the site be closed until this matter is addressed and the community is happy.”

The City’s mayoral committee member for Energy and Climate Change, Phindile Maxiti, said: “Erf 9652 in Hout Bay was purchased and reserved for the City’s Electricity Generation and Distribution Department in December 2016 for the purpose of building a service depot.

“This is part of the City’s plan to take services closer to customers by positioning service depots within the boundaries or a reasonable radius from the communities intended to be serviced. Currently Hout Bay is serviced from Wynberg, which is not ideal as it does not enable quick response.”

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Cape Argus