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Response to nearly 600 000 people on Cape housing backlog dismissed as ‘unacceptable excuses’

Infrastructure MEC Teruis Simmers. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Infrastructure MEC Teruis Simmers. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 27, 2023


Cape Town - Infrastructure MEC Tertuis Simmers has said there are 599 855 people on housing waiting lists in the province, and that it would require a budget in excess of R100 billion to clear this backlog.

Simmers said of the nearly 600 000 people on the lists, 356524 were on the City’s lists and 242431 were on the lists of the province’s non-metro municipalities.

Simmers was responding to a question from EFF MPL Aisha Cassiem who had asked for details on the Western Cape’s current backlog with regard to people who had applied for free housing opportunities.

“Based on the current quantum, it will require a budget in excess of R100bn to clear this backlog, notwithstanding the current semigration patterns which will further exacerbate the current backlog.”

Simmers said based on this fact, the department had encouraged municipalities to develop allocation policies aligned with the provincial and national selection framework.

EFF MPL Aisha Cassiem. Picture: Cape Argus

“This will ensure that beneficiaries who have been waiting for an extended period of time are assisted, while also prioritising the vulnerable groups.”

He defined these vulnerable groups as people aged 60 and over, those living with medically certified disabilities, backyarders, those longest on the waiting list and registered and vetted military veterans.

With regard to a question from Cassiem about delays in housing projects, Simmers said 11 housing projects’ completion dates had been delayed. Of these, he said more than 2 900 units were incomplete.

Cassim said Simmers was making unacceptable excuses and that gang or criminal activity allegedly delaying or stopping housing projects across the province could also be avoided.

“This DA-led government should put the same effort into prioritising police and law enforcement on criminals and gangs, like they do with poor black people when it comes to protesting for simple human rights.”

Cassiem accused the province of having no intention to prioritise housing and said that as a result of this lack of motivation and corruption in the housing sector, housing would always be an issue.

She said the money spent on housing also did not reflect what was happening on the ground as thousands of people were still waiting for houses, some for almost 30 years.

Cassiem said it was evident that the issue was neither money nor land, but failure to prioritise the needs of the poor. How does a person of 25-35 years have a house before a pensioner who has been on the waiting list for ever?”

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