The cost implications of housing refugees and the homeless at four temporary relocation sites could halt several projects planned by the City.. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).
The cost implications of housing refugees and the homeless at four temporary relocation sites could halt several projects planned by the City.. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

'Astronomical' cost of housing Cape refugees, homeless could halt City projects

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Apr 9, 2020

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Cape Town - The cost implications of housing refugees and the homeless at four temporary relocation sites could halt several projects planned by the City.

Mayor Dan Plato said on Wednesday the executive and mayco team had met to discuss the implications.

“We have discussed this; we informed our financial team to do a modelling for us and report back next week. The cost factor is astronomical at this point and it will mean that we will have to spend our money extremely sparingly over the next few months,” he said.

Plato said if a worst-case scenario occurred whereby President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the lockdown, it would have a severe impact on the City’s budget.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the cost could run to about R23 million.

“That could increase substantially because, remember, we have not only focused on a sports field in Strandfontein; we have four other sites and we have to supply food and shelter for them.

“We also need to take into account whether the lockdown could be extended. This means we have to look at a long-term plan, which in the end could cost more,” Smith said.

He said the City was in talks with the national government to seek assistance.

The cost implications of housing refugees and the homeless at four temporary relocation sites could halt several projects planned by the City. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

“There is no way any municipality can carry this on their own. We are speaking to the national government to provide a portion. I have seen how other municipalities are addressing this, and some are beset by additional costs,” Smith said.

The City also erected tents at Wingfield to shelter over 600 refugees who had been occupying sidewalks in the CBD

The City said earlier it was expecting to suffer a monthly loss of income amounting to between R1billion and R3bn as a result of the lockdown.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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