Pretoria - Low-income earners in Pretoria will be able to have homes closer to economic opportunities when they move into the new 900-unit social housing project in Marabastad towards the end of 2019.
Construction of the R405 million Marabastad Townlands Village will begin in October and is expected to be completed in September 2019.
The development is on the corner Struben and Es'kia Mphahlele streets, near the Home Affairs Department’s Refugees Reception Centre.
When completed, it will cater for beneficiaries who are residents of the city, but do not qualify for RDP housing, nor have access to home loans.
The tenants of Marabastad Townlands Village will, in addition to being closer to economic opportunities, also have easier access to places of employment, transport routes, shopping malls and sports facilities.
It is believed that the reduction of the travel time to work will greatly benefit workers, who spend 70% of their income on transport, according to a World Bank study.
The rentals will range from R900 to R2 250 a month, depending on the size of the home.
Tenants will have the option of choosing one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom units.
On completion, the social rental stock complex will have an outdoor gym, braai facilities, vegetable gardens, a community hall, netball court and soccer field.
Beneficiaries of the project will be restricted to low-to-medium income earners.
They will be categorised into two groups; the first made up of those who take home between R2 500 and R3 500 a month.
The second category will be people who earn a monthly salary of between R3 500 and R7 500.
The development was unveiled by city mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa during a sod-turning ceremony at the site on Tuesday.
It will be bankrolled by the National Department of Human Settlements through its Social Housing Regulatory Authority, and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, through the Gauteng Partnership Fund. There will be a capital expenditure grant from the City of Tshwane.
Ramokgopa said that by being closer to work, the tenants would be able to walk or cycle to work, which would result in a reduction of the carbon footprint.
The new dwelling would allow the municipality to render services such as the connection for the water and sanitation system in bulk.
The mayor said this concept of “residentialising” the city centre would address the problem of crime, as the area would no longer be deserted, particularly in the evenings.
The objective was to change the demographics of the city by redressing apartheid human settlement patterns, he said.
“The aim of the project is to also transform the city’s rental accommodation patterns and ensure security of tenure,” he stated.
Ramokgopa added that a project to provide student accommodation was also in the pipeline, and would be introduced within the next two months by the city in partnership with the Public Works Department.
Joshua Ngonyama, MMC for housing and sustainable human settlement development, said the development would revitalise the area and ensure it was restored to its former glory.
“This development is a big catalyst for the renewal of Marabastad,” he said. He seized the opportunity to dispute claims that the financial status of the Housing Company Tshwane was not good, saying it was healthy.
Tshepo Phetla, board chairman of Housing Company Tshwane, said that the city would redress experiences of settlement patterns through the project. In so doing, it would make sure that the people were closer to transport routes and other public amenities, he said.