Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Photo: ANA Pictures
CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town's new transitional housing project for Salt River has unleashed the fury of opposition parties at Thursday’s council meeting.

Brett Herron mayoral committee member for housing and urban development, who recommended the R11.1 million transitional housing project to council said people who could afford to pay should pay, while those who couldn’t would be subsidised.

Transitional housing for people evicted in Woodstock and Salt River will have 42 rooms and 85 beds, communal bathrooms and kitchens, and access control to ensure the safety of those residing in the facility.

“Those living in the facility will sign lease agreements and pay monthly rent based on what they can afford. The city will subsidise the operational costs through its rental indigent scheme applicable to council tenants,” Herron said.

But Democratic Independent Party councillor Anwar Adams condemned the project as another Blikkiesdorp.

“We are treating a symptom and not a cause. In Woodstock there is an oversupply of apartments for the rich and which does not cater for poor people. If you build transitional housing people will still not be able to afford it,” he said.

ACDP councillor Charlotte Williams said: “Look what happened at the Spes Bona hostel in Athlone, where all the families had to share one kitchen. Later the City of Cape Town shifted them to Blikkiesdorp.”

Wela Dlulane of the ANC said any form of development to alleviate poor people’s conditions was welcomed, but he lamented the lack of consultation with the those affected.

“This document is incomplete because consultation has not been done,” he said.

Scores of people have over the past few years moved to Blikkiesdorp in Delft and Wolwerivier near Atlantis. Many were evicted by their landlords.

People from Albert Road in Woodstock are also facing eviction after the owner of their building applied for an an eviction order. Recently the Cape Town Magistrate's Court ordered the city to present a report for alternative accommodation for the evictees.

Meanwhile the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lambasted the city’s increases in property rates, water and electricity. Cape Town has become a very expensive place to live, the chamber said.

President Janine Myburgh said the city suffered from the cumulative effects of a series of above inflation rates, electricity and water tariff increases over the past nine to 10 years.

“The actual increases in this year’s municipal budget which came into effect this month were moderate by recent standards, but even small increases on top of the high increases of the past hurts.

"A second problem is that property values have risen more in some areas than in others and people living in suburbs near the city have seen some sharp increases in the value of their homes and that leads to steep increases in their rates accounts,” she said.

“The electricity tariff increases were also small but they came on top of a series of Eskom and city tariff increases that have been seriously damaging to both residents and businesses. The exceptional water tariff increase is another blow although one can understand that it has come in exceptional circumstances. We like to think that we live in a well-run city but it is a very expensive city to live in,” she said.

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Cape Argus