Housing project halted

Beacon Valley Housing project.

It may be another year before a contractor is back on site to complete the R95 million Beacon Valley Housing Project, expected to house 1 809 Mitchell’s Plain families.

This comes as the contractors have been “de-established” because of the “unsafe working environment”, said mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi.

“The City is looking at all available options so that work can resume,” he said.

The project, located on Highlands Drive, Morgenster and Swartklip Roads, is due to provide affordable housing opportunities, and has been experiencing significant delays because of violence and intimidation on site.

Four separate shooting incidents took place as well as petrol bombings of construction machinery (“Violence halts construction of houses”, Plainsman July 14).

The project is in the civil tender phase.

Mr Booi said various public meetings were held at various stages of the project with overwhelming support.

Solomon Philander, chairman of Wolfgat Sub-council, said that the tender process to find other contractors may take up to 12 months.

He said the City of Cape Town has a valid interdict against certain Mitchell’s Plain and Mandalay community leaders barring them from the site and from stopping, interrupting or intimidating employees and law enforcement at the property.

One of the respondents on the court document Duwayne Jacobs, and Cape Coloured Congress (CCC) councillor candidate for ward 116, told the Plainsman on Thursday October 23 that the matter was dismissed and that now local contractors stood a better chance of being involved in the project.

Mr Jacobs said according to his information new contractors would now move in and people were getting messages to attend workshops.

He said they have come to an agreement with the City that 10% of the houses would go to people not on the housing waiting list but who stayed within the surrounding area, and another 10% would go to people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

“We know that our local contractors will benefit. Our main contractors will benefit. Our employees and skilled people will benefit.

“We made sure that these houses will not go to people outside of Mitchell’s Plain.

“It is a victory for us when we look at where we stand now with the project – that the City has now agreed to work with the community,” he said.

During a project steering committee (PSC) meeting on Monday October 4, including community members, outgoing DA councillor for Ward 116 Michael Pietersen said that if the project was restarted then proper public participation had to take place.

“There must be an opportunity, in terms of the constitution, for small businesses to have an opportunity in this project.

“We made the mistake of not starting this project correctly.

“If we get the opportunity to restart this project. Let us start on the right basis. You need to have proper public participation,” he said.

Mr Pietersen said everyone should be involved in this project.

“Ultimately our people in Mitchell’s Plain must have the benefit of the doubt to have tenders.

“Even politicians must stay around here. The talent is here. We have the right people here.

“Give the opportunity to the people,” he said.

He said local security should be brought in and that the people had the most power, making decisions on behalf of the beneficiaries.

“My request to the community of Mitchell’s Plain is to safeguard any housing opportunity so that the necessary housing can be delivered to the relevant beneficiaries,” he said.

He encouraged the PSC to work together to ensure that this project is completed.

“I hope that the new mayor and mayco member for human settlements prioritise this project and put in place with all of the necessary safeguarding to ensure that the new contractors are able to deliver the service in a safe environment,” he said.

It should include Mitchell’s Plain construction and security companies, who should be allowed to tender so that they can in turn develop the community of Mitchell’s Plain and also give opportunities for youth in the sectors.

“The PSC is only a part of the process and the process must allow other civil society organisations to have maximum input in any development,” he said.

Mr Pietersen said beneficiaries could check their details on the database and they can get assistance from councillors, the sub-council or housing offices.