ANC provincial human settlements spokesperson Andile Lili had also asked about the age, gender and race of tenants in the provincial government’s rental stock who are paying monthly rental fees of not more than R900. File picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
ANC provincial human settlements spokesperson Andile Lili had also asked about the age, gender and race of tenants in the provincial government’s rental stock who are paying monthly rental fees of not more than R900. File picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape government questioned over fairness of rental housing policy

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Aug 3, 2021

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[Related: “ANC queries Cape officials renting government houses from as little as R1 500 a month”]

Cape Town - The ANC says there are currently 1 116 government officials on the waiting list for allocation of provincial government housing rental stock ready to pay the market-related value to make the units more profitable, yet the rental units are occupied by people paying as little as R100.

ANC provincial human settlements spokesperson Andile Lili was speaking after he received a written answer from Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers to a question he had asked in the legislature about the market-related value of each of his department’s rental stock units.

Lili had also asked about the age, gender and race of tenants in the provincial government’s rental stock who are paying monthly rental fees of not more than R900.

Lili said: “We will ask follow-up questions to the MEC to understand reasons for his department to allow hundreds of people, mainly white pensioners, to pay nominal fees to stay in government properties.

“This is clearly a way that the DA is preserving white privilege and the apartheid spatial legacy of reserving certain areas for whites while our people live in squalor in the townships.

“If the rental stock is intended to assist beneficiaries registered on municipal waiting lists, why is it that millions of Africans in the province – including young backyarders are not accommodated in these units?”

He said the party would engage Scopa on this matter to see if there was grounds for further investigations.

Leader of the ANC opposition, Cameron Dugmore, said: “It is clear that since 2009 the DA have done absolutely nothing to ensure equity in regard to the demographic profile of the tenants living in provincial government housing.

“Our information is that coloured, African and Indian people on waiting lists are simply not being offered places. I will be writing to the national Ministers of Human Settlements and Public Works to investigate this ongoing apartheid and discrimination in the Western Cape.”

In his response Simmers said the department had 32 units in Stellenbosch, 33 in Worcester and 24 in Paarl all with a rental market value of 25% of tenant income.

Simmers also provided a list that showed out of 286 tenants that are paying less than R1000 to live in government rental stock, there are just four Africans, two Indians, 100 coloured people and the remaining 180 are whites including those paying as little as R100 to live in Millerton, Plumstead and Zonnebloem.

Simmers confirmed: “The number of government officials on the waiting list for rental housing opportunities is 1116. This waiting list was opened to public servants in 2016 and closed a few months later due to the high volume of applications received.

“It should be noted that the rental stock was intended to assist beneficiaries registered on Municipal waiting lists and excluded public servants. A decision was taken in 2016 to allow for a certain number of allocations to be reserved for public servants to assist with cross-subsidization to make the return on the units more profitable.”

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