Natasha Paulsen receives the keys to her home. Picture: Supplied
Natasha Paulsen receives the keys to her home. Picture: Supplied

347 000 people on the City’s housing waiting list

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Sep 25, 2021

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Cape Town - There are currently 347 000 people on the City’s Housing Needs Register and it’s growing daily with new applicants.

Since 2012, 60 000 homes have been built.

The figures were provided by the Mayco member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, who said despite lockdown restrictions and a pandemic, the City has been focused on and committed to building homes.

Booi said with lockdown there had been many unlawful occupations of land which he deemed to be politically driven and which had added to their woes.

Booi explained that thousands of applicants were on their registry and that it was constantly monitored and updated.

“It must be noted the database is not static – as opportunities are awarded to beneficiaries, they are removed from the database and new beneficiaries are added.

“The City worked hard to make up for lost time due to the implementation of the lockdown. Houses have been handed over at housing projects in various areas across the metro since March 2020.

“The extreme increase in mostly large-scale, organised unlawful land occupations, often with the involvement of so-called ‘shack-farming’ and illegal electricity connection syndicates since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown period in March 2020, and while the national crisis regulations remain in effect, have led to the establishment of new settlements on flood-prone land in many parts of the metro such as in Dunoon, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein and Mfuleni. In addition, many of the unlawful occupations have been politically instigated.

“Despite these exceptionally difficult conditions, the City spent approximately 95% of its Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) in the 2020/21 financial year, earmarked for human settlements for the most vulnerable residents.”

He added the database was constantly being updated with new beneficiaries and that there was no unfairness: “The Housing Needs Register is protected, updated and audited to ensure that opportunities are given to qualifying applicants in a fair, transparent and equitable manner to prevent queue-jumping.”

Dr Jo Barnes, of the Department of Global Health, Health Systems and Public Health at Stellenbosch University, who has done research projects in dense settlements and RDP housing schemes, said the City had spent large amounts of money repairing houses built with poor workmanship. This had resulted in backlogs and the proliferation of backyard dwellings.

“Coupled with the poor workmanship that went into building the vast majority of these homes, the houses soon showed alarming decay. Large sums of money had to be spent in repairing those houses, diminishing the available budgets even further. There is now a backlog of crumbling and poorly built houses in the City (and many other municipalities in the Province) that are not conducive to healthy living.”

Barnes added that the increased density of areas as a result of illegal shacks in backyards was putting a huge strain on the infrastructure.

The Good party’s Brett Herron said: “Cape Town has a shortage of approximately 400 000 homes. The City is the custodian of thousands of parcels of land and buildings suitable for use for affordable housing.”

Homes built in The Hague, Delft. Picture: Supplied

Just this week, another 21 beneficiaries received their homes thanks to the City of Cape town’s R130 million The Hague housing project in Delft.

The last phase of the project will provide housing for 800.

Natasha Paulsen received the keys to her home on Thursday: “We are so happy to have received the keys to our homes today.

“Words cannot describe how I am feeling and I am thankful to be moving into my new home.”

Weekend Argus

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