Housing hopes dashed

Benedicta van Minnen

Civil engineers will be breaking ground this financial year (2016/2017) to start the building of 1 800 houses in Mitchell’s Plain due for completion within the next five years.

This comes as hundreds of Mitchell’s Plain residents, desperate for housing, have handed copies of their identity documents and housing waiting cards to Joining Hands Community Project, a registered non-profit organisation founded by Charles de Long in Voëlvlei Street, Tafelsig in the hope of being given a house, to be built along Swartklip Road, in Tafelsig.

Mr De Long told the Plainsman the organisation, with its motto, “Joining hands in our fight against poverty and crime”, had nothing to do with giving people hope of getting a house but rather that “Councillor Patrick, for Ward 99”, asked the organisation to collect the details of 300 people who needed a house.

Members of Joining Hands told the Plainsman on Wednesday September 21 that houses would be built along Swartklip Road, where hundreds of people squatted ahead of the 2011 local government elections.

They said they were informing “coloured people” of housing opportunities.

People also flooded the offices of local community organisation Mustadafin Foundation, in Dassenberg Street, Tafelsig, with requests to have photocopies of their personal details made. Morishia Fortuin, local co-ordinator for Mustadafin Foundation, said more than 200 people had been to their offices.

The Plainsman called Ward 99 councillor Bongile Ngcani about the allegation that he asked Joining Hands to collect the details of people who are in need of housing. While he confirmed that he is called Patrick, he said he “wouldn’t do something like that”.

Mr Ngcani is an ANC councillor, who won the ward during the 2016 local government elections on August 3.

He attended the first Beacon Valley housing steering committee meeting at Eastridge community hall on Monday September 19. City of Cape Town officials, Mitchell’s Plain councillors and representatives from local community organisations have been meeting for years to address housing needs in the area.

Recently elected ACDP Proportional Representative (PR) councillor, Charlotte Williams, who also is a representative of the Mitchell’s Plain People’s Association, a registered non-profit organisation, for the last four years, has been privy to the planning of the second phase of subsidy housing in Beacon Valley and Lentegeur, including 1 800 units.

The first phase was Eastville Heights, along Alpine Road in Eastridge. The next phase will be built on the corner of Imperial and Oval North roads; Morgenster and The Farm, which form part of the Beacon Valley housing project.

Ms Williams said the project will be starting this financial year and that it is recorded in the City’s five-year integrated development plan for 2012 to 2017.

She told the Plainsman several people had come to her at the weekend to confirm whether they should hand in their details at Voelvlei Street. “Someone is running a racket with our people here. You can only get a house if you are on the City’s housing database. I know people are desperate but the only way you can get a house is through the City or the Province,” she said.

Benedicta van Minnen, mayoral committee member for human settlements, said the planning phase of the housing project is being finalised.

She said timelines for the project would be determined once the planning phase is complete but construction will hopefully start mid-year next year. “The steering committee, made up of representatives of registered organisations within Mitchell’s Plain, councillors and City officials, are in the process of defining the allocation criteria for the project,” she said.

Housing beneficiaries qualify in terms of the national subsidy criteria. Ms Van Minnen said: “It is important that people whose names are on the City’s database ensure that their contact details are up to date. No one should be handing documents to any organisation claiming to have an influence on the project,” she said.

* National housing subsidy criteria, include being on the municipal housing demand database for a minimum period of ten years (proof of registration required); priority will be given to applicants older than 40-years and or with special needs; applicants married or living with a long-term partner; applicants single or divorced with others who rely on their income; being a South African citizen or having a permanent resident’s permit; applicants must be older than 18, married or divorced with others who rely on their income; have a monthly household income before deductions of less than R3 500; applicants and or their partner have never received a subsidy from the government; applicants and or their partner have never owned property; and applicants and or their family will live on the property bought with the subsidy.