Spotlight on housing

More than a thousand Mitchells Plain residents attended a meeting on housing at Lentegeur civic centre on Saturday February 8.

A Beacon Valley housing project which will include the construction of 1 809 units will see Mitchell’s Plain residents getting preference.

Addressing more than a thousand people at Lentegeur civic centre on Saturday February 8, City of Cape Town housing official Benjamin van der Ross said if housing waiting list applicants had Mitchell’s Plain registered as their address on their profiles in the past four months, when beneficiaries were considered, they could benefit from the project.

“This project has been ring-fenced for the people of Mitchell’s Plain,” Mr Van der Ross said.

He said beneficiaries would be considered based on their “reality” when their applications were read, and he explained that houses would be allocated to applicants based on the information on their forms. This would include their financial, marriage and health circumstances at that time.

In response to questions about housing recipients subletting their houses, he said once they had their title deeds, they were the legal owners.

Abieda Abdurhaman, 43, from Tafelsig, has been on the housing waiting list for 19 years. With a tremor in her voice, she pleaded for a house.“Ek het al drie keer by die verskillende kantore my details ge-update,” she said.

Ms Abdurhaman has three different cards confirming that she lived in Lavender Hill, Delft and is now back in Mitchell’s Plain.

Her parents were among the first residents in Portland more than 40 years ago.

She has been forced to live separated from her two children – daughter, 25, and son, 19, for the past five years. “My daughter lives with my mother and my son lives with his girlfriend,” she said.

She said it has been difficult to make ends meet and that she lives alone in someone’s backyard.

Ms Abdurhaman said she had missed qualifying for a house in the past because her registered address would not match the requirements for a specific housing project.

“Ek het al baie vergaderings bygewoon en ek het nog nie ‘* huis nie,” she said.

Abdul Bassier Sakieldien, 49, from Beacon Valley, had applied at the housing office in Strand Street, Cape Town in 1992.

Today, he lives with his wife and disabled son, 28, sharing a three-bedroomed house, with another family. Their daughters, aged 22 and 15, live with their maternal grandmother.

“Every time I go to the council they just say I am on the waiting list. I’ve been there a couple of times and no one can help me,” he said.

Mr Sakieldien and his family have moved quite a few times, within Mitchell’s Plain.

The breaking new ground (BNG) project is located on three different sites for full ownership of a 40 square metre house.

City housing official. Grobler Basson, said the environmental authorisation, including heritage approval, specialist studies and Water Use License Applications (WULA) still needed to be completed.

The land use approval and layout design also requires a traffic impact report or assessment, civil engineering services and infrastructure plans and wayleave approval from all service authorities.

Solomon Philander, Wolfgat sub-council chairman and councillor for Ward 79, said attendance at the meeting was a clear indication of the need for housing in Mitchell’s Plain.

“As public public representatives we are committed to work with the project steering committee and officials to ensure the fair allocation of houses. We listened to the community where they highlighted allegations of corruption in previous projects in Mitchell’s Plain.

“Our commitment is to follow the City of Cape Town’s allocation policy to provide housing for people longest on the list,” he said.

Mr Philander said the project steering committee resolved that a percentage of houses would be allocated to special needs’ beneficiaries.

“We exercise our oversight role to ensure that this takes place. It is also important for the public to note we will have ‘messiahs’ or opportunists who will give the public misinformation to score political gains. We appeal to the public to follow the official information released by City of Cape Town officials. These meetings are free and no money asked,” he said.

Zahid Badroodien, acting mayoral committee member for human settlements, told the Plainsman the planning and design phases were completed. “We are in the process of appointing contractors to commence with the internal civil services construction,” he said.

The project steering committee had discussed and proposed the allocation split for the beneficiaries, which was sent to the allocation committee for final approval.

Mr Badroodien said the City retained the right to allocate 10% to the top 100 most urgent cases from the housing database, as per policy requirements.

Beneficiaries of all City housing projects are allocated in accordance with the City’s allocation policy and the housing database to ensure that housing opportunities are provided to qualifying applicants in a fair, transparent and equal manner.

He said with regards to Ms Abdurhaman, clarification of her having updated her information as being resident in Mitchells Plain would have to be looked at in relation to the date the allocation request form was approved for the project.

The allocation request form is a form signed off by the project steering committee that essentially indicates the proposed percentage split for future beneficiaries. The subject form then goes to the allocation committee for approval. Only once approval is obtained can the proposed beneficiaries’ names be drawn from the housing database (in line with stipulation from the allocation request form).

Applicants are selected for housing opportunities based on the date that they registered on the City’s housing database.

Each project has a cut-off date determined by the project steering committee to ensure that everyone who has been registered on the database the longest are assisted before more recently registered applicants are approached.

The qualifying date range is adjusted, with the input of the project steering committee, once all names in that date range is exhausted.

Mr Badroodien said each housing project would then invite applicants within the agreed date range from the following three categories to apply for the specific project: are residents within the target area (the areas near or surrounding the planned housing development); have been on the housing database the longest, but who live outside of the target area, that is the greater city; and applicants with special needs.

This housing project is specifically for Mitchell’s Plain residents, registered on the housing waiting list, who have a monthly household income before deductions of less than R3 500.

Priority would be given to applicants, who have been on the waiting list for at least a minimum of 10 years, are 40 years old and older; and or with special needs.