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City must hand homes over at 'no cost'

Published Oct 30, 2016


MORE than 10 700 people who have been paying rent to the City for years will be able to transfer the properties on to their names.

The move has been hailed by the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance and the Social Justice Coalition, who say it’s a step in the right direction.

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But they also say the houses should be given to people at no cost.

The houses – in Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Macassar, Melton Rose, Nyanga, Scottsdene, Strand, Sarepta, Athlone, Heideveld, Grassy Park, Hanover Park, Hout Bay, Ocean View, Retreat, Elsies River, Belhar, Langa, Ravensmead, Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, Bonteheuwel, Gugulethu, Manenberg and Valhalla Park – will be transferred at a substantial discount to qualifying legal tenants, the City said in a statement yesterday.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said the price of the cottages and maisonettes ranged from R2 300 to R123 000, depending on the individual’s circumstances.

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Over the past 30 years, the City has transferred more than 54 000 houses to qualifying legal tenants.

These transfers are funded by the City in conjunction with subsidy provisions in the enhanced extended discount benefit scheme, which is available to qualifying legal tenants who may be interested in taking transfer/ownership of their rental units.

Chairperson of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, Philip Bam, said people had paid the City over and over for the cost of their houses and they should be given the houses for free.

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“People have spent a lifetime paying; they must not be asked to pay. Some have lived in those houses for more than 30 years and have more than paid their worth,” he said.

“If people who got RDP houses did not have to pay a cent, why must these people?” he asked.

Many people had, over the years, beautified their homes, so it was good that they could now take ownership.

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Bam said it was also restoring dignity to people who would no longer be at the mercy of a landlord.

He said owning a house was a step out of poverty, as people could raise bonds; they also now had an asset they could leave their children.

The Social Justice Coalition head of local government programmes, Axolile Notywala echoed Bam’s sentiments.

“It is a good thing, more people are getting their houses, but a lot more still needs to be done. The City still has to bring dignity to people living in informal settlements, and the City has to develop land for the poor around the CBD.”

Van Minnen said there are two key considerations in transferring the houses.

“We want to encourage empowerment and redress through the ownership of property by residents who were previously prohibited from enjoying such benefits, and we want to ensure that we become a more financially sustainable City by reducing the rental stock that we manage,” she said.

People living in the areas can go to the housing offices to see if they qualify for the deal.

The rental houses which are being considered for transfer are free-standing, semi-
detached, terraced houses and maisonettes.

Van Minnen said to determine if people are eligible, they need to bring proof of income, with an employer’s report, salary advice or payslips not older than three months; if unemployed, an affidavit; or if self-employed, six months’ basic certified income and expenditure statements with supporting documents; if applicable, proof of identity, proof of marital status, a marriage certificate or affidavit of a customary Muslim rites marriage certificate; or final order of divorce or death certificate (if applicable).

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