From the outset of my tenure as Human Settlements MEC, I’ve worked to accelerate the delivery of housing opportunities, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society. Photographer: Tracey Adams/African News Agency
From the outset of my tenure as Human Settlements MEC, I’ve worked to accelerate the delivery of housing opportunities, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society. Photographer: Tracey Adams/African News Agency

Work with us to hasten housing delivery to the poor, says Cape MEC

By Opinion Time of article published Sep 9, 2020

Share this article:

by Tertuis Simmers

From the outset of my tenure as Human Settlements MEC, I’ve worked to accelerate the delivery of housing opportunities, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society.

It is for this reason I set four key drivers to address the housing need in our province: 1) Radical Acceleration of Housing Opportunities. 2) Radical Implementation of Innovative Solutions. 3) An Integrated Approach to Human Settlements. 4) Radical Empowerment and Job Creation.

Knowing that it takes in excess of 1 500 days for a housing project to be completed to the point of handover, we have put a plan in place to avoid unnecessary delays on our side. The process includes working smartly to obtain all the statutory approvals, which include town planning and building the units.

But there is only so much that we can do as the Western Cape Human Settlements Department. The speed of our progress is also in the hands of our citizens.

The moment land earmarked for housing is illegally invaded it can delay our process by 3 months to 5 years. It often requires lengthy and expensive litigation to remove the illegal invaders – funded from the money we need to spend on delivering units.

Perversely, and most problematically, when land is invaded we are also required to divert our spend away from those who’ve waited patiently for an opportunity, toward those who’ve illegally created new informal settlements, as they demand services, such as water. Should this not be provided, disruptive and damaging protests occur.

We cannot have the elderly, people who are living with disabilities, backyard dwellers and those who’ve been on the housing waiting list for 15 years or longer, being robbed of their rightful housing opportunities by criminal and self-serving land invaders.

It is critical that all stakeholders, including the government and especially our national law enforcement agencies, work together in ensuring illegal land invaders are removed. We can start addressing the housing backlog, which is at almost 600 000 in the Western Cape, only if we all work together to end this criminal behaviour. I implore our communities to work with the government.

Those with a genuine housing need must ensure that they are registered on the database and, if they are, to verify their details. They should also engage the relevant structures such as ward councillors to receive factual information.

* Tertuis Simmers is Human Settlements MEC.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

Do you have something on your mind; or want to comment on the big stories of the day? We would love to hear from you. Please send your letters to [email protected]

All letters to be considered for publication, must contain full names, addresses and contact details (not for publication).

IOL is committed to freedom of speech as long as it is not derogatory or harmful to others.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to join the conversation.

Share this article: