Montrose residents warn about home ‘trap’

Disgruntled Montrose Park residents say they want the bigger government subsidy houses they were apparently promised 20 years ago.

Some of them were given one-bedroomed houses instead of the two-bedroomed houses they thought they would get.

Chairperson of the Montrose Community Association, Margreta Koopman, hosted the meeting on Tuesday November 6 at The Farm community hall.

The association was established in 2005, years after the area’s first inhabitants were moved from Cardboard City, which was located under one of the unfinished bridges in the Cape Town CBD, to The Farm, in 1998.

The then 200 residents agreed to go voluntarily to Mitchell’s Plain, after three months of negotiation with the municipality.

Ms Koopman argued that a film company had financially contributed to the move and building of houses but the people were short-changed. “Look at how we are living. Our dignity has been taken away from us. Parents and children sleep in the same room. There is no privacy,” she said.

She had approached the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) for assistance and was told to bring all relevant documentation.

Michael Jacobs, deputy chairperson of MURA, said to date they have not received any documents.

The meeting comes ahead of the development of 839 housing opportunities in Highlands Drive.

Montrose Park resident Washiela Abdullah said they do not want the new prospective homeowners to fall into the same “trap” as them.

She said the Highlands Drive house recipients should make sure they get what they asked for.

“We also want to prevent any development in Highlands Drive until we are sorted out,” she said.

She said she was not in possession of her title deed, which she needed to apply to the City to extend her house to accommodate her grandchildren and children.

The meeting also included residents complaining about blocked drains and the absence of ward councillor Michael Pietersen at the meeting and in the community.

In response to a media enquiry Mr Pietersen said he was never consulted about the meeting.

“Every housing project has an elected steering committee. None of the members was aware of this meeting,” he said.

Mr Pietersen said once he has received the relevant information about the project from the department, he would call a public meeting where all elected steering committee members would be present, to engage the community about progress and status of the relevant housing project.