Green light for social housing

Pictured in the middle is Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela with partners in Mitchell's Plain's first social housing project sod turning.

Contractors are due to break ground for the provincial government’s first triple storey social housing project, in Mitchell’s Plain, being built to meet the needs of lower income tenants.

Tenants of the 104 units, ranging from a bachelor to three-bedroomed units, can expect to pay between R700 and R4 500 a month.

Applicants must earn between R1 500 and R15 000 a month to live in the Regent Villas complex, situated between London Village and Vangate Villas, off Jakes Gerwel Drive.

The province’s Department of Human Settlements in partnership with Povicom, a recently accredited social housing institution, will provide affordable and decent rental homes to the people of Mitchell’s Plain and surrounding areas.

The total budget for this project is an estimated R38 million.
Riyard Abrahams, chairman of Povicom, told the Plainsman on Monday August 27 that the ground had already been levelled and the site has been fenced in.

He said in the past two weeks neighbours have asked on behalf of their family members and people passing by had enquired about becoming part of the project.
Construction will start next month and the first tenants could move in by September 2019.

Mr Abrahams said the houses would be built and materials used in accordance with the standards set by the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), a regulatory body of the home building industry. “A quality house will be built. This includes all of the walls being plastered, inside and out, the installation of cupboards in the bedroom and kitchen, and tile floors throughout,” he said.

He said that 30% of the units would be rented to people earning less than R3 500. “The idea is to take people out of areas where there is a lot of crime and move them to decent areas. In the complex there will be 24-hour security,” he said.
Mr Abrahams said the plans also included a small creche and that government would be subsidising tenants’ rent.

At the sod-turning event on Wednesday August 15, Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said the project was a partnership between the department and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA).

“We are all here today to make sure we house people who are living here, especially those who are low-income earners.

“There’s a huge demand for rental accommodation in Cape Town, particularly in this area,” he said.

Mr Madikizela said he was excited that the department was starting to address the need from locals and across the city.
“Everyone is welcome here and more importantly, we need to make sure the people from the surrounding areas are the ones who will get first preference.”

He added that the aim was not only to house people but to create job opportunities for young people in construction.
“This project ticks all the boxes of what we want to achieve as the Department of Human Settlements. The fact that people who will be living here are low-income earners, especially our backyarders, is very exciting,” said Mr Madikizela.

The complex will include 24-hour security, a recreation area, a shop and a parking area.

Ighsaan Higgins, who is on the board of the SHRA and chairs its compliance, accreditation and regulations committee, said they were focused on providing accommodation for the poorest of the poor and that their right to housing was met.
He said they have and will endeavour to move residents closer to the city-centre.

But Wayne Weitz, chairperson of London Village Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said they would be appealing the development because the community had not been properly consulted and queried the quality of the houses.

Ward councillor Joan Woodman, however, said the project had been approved in December 2015 and that the association had only been established last year.

● Potential tenants must apply to the non-profit company Povicom, who is also the landlord. For more information, call Jodie-leigh Owies on 021 761 0707.