MEC to unpack housing

Bonginkosi Madikizela

Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said he will be embarking on a drive to specifically deal with people who have been on the housing waiting list for 20 years and more.

Speaking to the Plainsman at his office at 35 Wales Street in the city centre on Friday May 11, Mr Madikizela said he needs to understand how it is that “so many houses have been built” but there are still people who have been waiting for more than 20 years.

The media interview comes almost a week after he and other leaders facilitated a truce between residents of Isiqalo informal settlement and Mitchell’s Plain, after protests on Jakes Gerwel Drive between the R300 and Highlands Drive two weeks ago.

The informal settlement residents took their grievances over a lack of municipal service delivery to the street, barring residents from nearby Mitchell’s Plain suburbs such as Wildwood, Hyde Park, Colorado Park and Rondevlei from getting to work and school. Mitchell’s Plain residents retaliated hours later by taking to the streets too.

On Saturday May 5 Mr Madikizela tasked both communities to elect a committee, who would represent the needs of residents of Isiqalo and Mitchell’s Plain in the department’s Southern Corridor housing project, described as a catalytic project which will create more than 51 000 housing opportunities (“Committee to seek solutions for Isiqalo”, Plainsman, May 9).

Following this meeting Mr Madikizela said in a statement that development plans are already in place and the department is awaiting approvals from the City of Cape Town.

Part of the corridor development includes the Kosovo housing project, which will see a 50% split of 800 Mitchell’s Plain and Kosovo families on the housing waiting list to be housed.

Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association then hosted a meeting to discuss the Kosovo housing project on Tuesday May 8, which dozens of Mitchell’s Plain residents attended.

The Plainsman then sought a meeting with the MEC to clarify how housing beneficiaries were determined.

Mr Madikizela said the housing waiting list sits with the municipality and that his department is dealing with applicants. Who have been on the housing waiting list since the early 1990s when he said worked with municipalities, he emphasised the importance of prioritising the most deserving people to get houses first.

The waiting list is not according to areas.

“The municipalities normally identify different areas that they are going to develop in a particular financial year,” he said.

He cited the example of a housing development in Atlantis but the first person on the housing waiting list lives in Mitchell’s Plain.

He said they would call the person but the usual response would be: “No, I don’t want to go to Atlantis. I will wait for a development that will happen next to my home, whenever that development will be”.

“While we have a housing waiting list that we use as a tool to allocate houses it is not always the case that when you develop somewhere, the first person on the waiting list will benefit because people have a choice to live where they want to,” he said.

The MEC said he has heard of complaints that people’s details have been taken off the database but he cannot see how it is possible.

“But I think there is a number of people who think they were registered but they didn’t and the reason for that is that there are a number of unscrupulous politicians, who every time close to elections go around to people’s houses, saying we are registering you for a house and because our people do not understand how these processes work, they are under the impression that they are registered for a house. Only to find that these were opportunists who would wind our people, in order for our people to vote for them and gave the impression that those people were registered on the waiting list,” he said.

He said another determining factor was that people were registered but they did not update their contact details.

He cited an example at the Nuwe Begin Housing Project in Eerste Rivier, where there were a hundred housing opportunities but they could only trace 10 people.

“This is another big problem because people just register their names and leave them there, and people move around. They change their details and it becomes very difficult to trace those people,” he said.

“We are saying it is your responsibility to keep on updating your information on the waiting list,” he said.

Mr Madikizela said beneficiaries were determined either with a new housing development or because they are resident in an old informal settlement.

He said with regards to old informal settlements, residents are profiled and allocated to a specific development. “The department does the profiling, we need a list of everyone who lives there, their name, surname and identity number.

“We then take that list and we check their status on the housing waiting list with the City.

“We check their qualification, including the income, whether they are South African citizens, never received a house before because you will not benefit again,” he said.

Who can apply for a housing subsidy?

You qualify for a housing subsidy if all of the following statements apply to you:

You must have been on the municipal housing demand database for a minimum period of 10 years. (Proof of registration required.)

Priority will be given to applicants over the age of 40 years and /or with special needs.

You are married or living with a long-term partner/or you are single or divorced with others who rely on your income.

You are a South African citizen or you have a permanent resident’s permit.

You are over 18 years of age or if under 18, married or divorced with others who rely on your income.

Your monthly household income before deductions is less than R3 500.

You or your partner have never received a subsidy from the government.

You or your partner have never owned property.

You and your family will live on the property bought with the subsidy.

What documents will I need to apply?

You will need:

Proof of registration on the municipal housing demand database (waiting list) (e.g. City of Cape Town).

A certified copy of you and your partner’s official South African ID book or card.

The certified birth certificates of people who rely on your income (such as children or grandchildren). You will be asked to provide the ID numbers of your financial dependents. A certified copy of your Permanent Residency Permit if you are not a South African citizen, plus those of your partner or spouse and dependents.

A certified copy of your marriage certificate, if you are married.

A certified copy of your divorce decree, if you are divorced with financial dependents.

An original recent payslip as proof of income. If you are
unemployed, an affidavit confirming your unemployment is required.

Where can I find more information?

You can visit the Department of Human Settlements at 27 Wale Street, Cape Town or call the helpdesk on 021 483 6488, 021 483 3112, 021 483 0611, 021 483 89 or 021 483 0623, Mondays to Fridays from 7to 3pm.

You can also email for more information.