Housing bonanza gives Beacon Valley hope

The City of Cape Town has revealed the plans for the Beacon Valley Housing development, the biggest housing project in Mitchell’s Plain over the past 10 years, which will create 1 818 housing opportunities for residents.

A presentation was done by Michael Page, a City of Cape Town official in the transport and urban development department at the Sub-council 12 meeting, held at the Lentegeur chambers on Thursday April 20.
According to Mr Page, the development will have 839 housing opportunities in Highlands Drive, 481 in Morgenster Road and 498 in Imperial Road.

The houses will be a combination of single and double storeys.

Mr Page presented a timeline of the development, saying that a consultant would be appointed in October and civil construction would start in July next year. The start of the top-structure construction will commence in July 2019 and the anticipated completion for the project is in June 2021.

Mr Page said the completion date referred depend on the approval of the environmental impact assessment for Morgenster and Imperial.

Among the concersn raised by Sub-council 12 chairperson Sheval Arendse were that some beneficiaries of housing projects rent out houses they receive and that adequate provision should be made for disabled beneficiaries with ramps installed where needed.

“We are asking the City to consider those who are disabled. We often have people coming back requesting that there be a ramp installed.

“Then, another concern is that people rent out their houses that were given to them and then live somewhere else. There are hundreds of people who are in need of a house, yet we have people abusing the system. So, how will the City ensure that this won’t happen?” he said.

Mr Page said it was difficult to monitor, but when residents received their homes there was a clause in the document that referred to rental and sales.

Mr Arendse said there were thousands of people on the waiting list and more were being added daily he asked how would the database system work for this development.

“How will this development work, will you be working backwards? I am asking this because there are hundreds of people in Mitchell’s Plain who have been on the waiting list for many years,” he said.

Mr Page said there was an allocation policy, which has to look at people who applied first, then those who applied most recently.

Ward 81 councillor Danny Christians said there was a high demand for housing in Mitchell’s Plain.

“According to recent statistics 300 00 people are on the waiting list. There are hundreds of people who are backyard dwellers in Mitchell’s Plain, so this housing development will definently benefit our people,” he said.
Tafelsig community activist and Mitchell’s Village resident Sulyman Stellenboom said people were desperate for housing, and while he supported the development his concern was the quality of the houses that the City was building.

He said he had been on the housing waiting list for 27 years and eventually got the call in 2008 to fetch his keys.
Mr Stellenboom assists residents with housing and water issues. He said before he received his RDP house in Mitchell’s Plain he had had to attend workshops at Oval North High School and Portland Indoor Centre. “There they told us that we will be getting a two-bedroom house, but we only got one bedroom.

“The houses are falling apart in our area and residents are furious. Yes, we got a subsidy, but the houses are poorly built.
“Another issue is that we have street names, but no stop signs. And, sadly, no place for parking for people. So what do they think of our people?” he said.

Mr Stellenboom said they were still waiting for the City to get back to them regarding the poor conditions they live in.

● To apply for a house residents can visit the Beacon Valley housing office in Chrysler Street. When applying they should have their ID and supporting documents. Mr Arendse said usually, pensioners and disabled people were prioritised.
People can contact the office on 021 376 1313 and if they would like to check their status on the database, they can SMS 44108, with their ID number, space and surname.

● The Plainsman sent the City of Cape Town a number of questions about the planned development but they had not responded at the time of print.