Big budget for IY

The provincial government, with the assistance of the Housing Development Agency, will be purchasing land for Imizamo Yethu.

An amount of R43 million will be used to buy land for Imizamo Yethu.

Finance MEC, Dr Ivan Meyer, made the announcement in his provincial budget speech last week.

The amount is part of R100 million reallocated to the Western Cape from other provinces experiencing slow spending. It’s ring fenced for accelerating the province’s human settlements programmes.

The Housing Development Agency will help provincial government buy land for Imizamo Yethu.

Provincial Department of Human Settlements spokesperson, Muneera Allie, said Hout Bay would be viewed “holistically” in order to meet the community’s needs.

At this stage, she could not say whether the expansion would make provision for formal housing.

“Once access to the land has been gained, socio-economic and environmental studies will inform any and all future development. The studies are required to, among others, ensure the needs of the respective community is met,” she said.

Over the past six months, the City of Cape Town has been sounding out Hughenden residents and other property owners near Imizamo Yethu on their willingness to sell their land for the expansion of the settlement.

Ms Allie confirmed Human Settlements was doing deals with land owners but she didn’t yet have the details. And she couldn’t say just how many hectares were needed for the expansion.

Ward councillor, Roberto Quintas, said Human Settlements MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, had told him the “province is exploring the possibility of developing GAP housing. However, this is not confirmed and is exploratory at this stage”.

Mr Quintas said he had raised his concerns about increased traffic congestion on Hout Bay Road with the MEC as well as the future potential additional threat to an already extremely vulnerable riverine system”.

He added: “I am in favour of additional housing opportunities for Hout Bay and improving the lives and dignity of our vulnerable residents, and, as such, am supportive of the formal housing development already under way in Imizamo Yethu and have been advocating for the consideration of more higher-density developments in that area of development.”

Mr Quintas said he had also been driving two new housing developments for Hangberg, “which will also go a long way to improving dignity, and easing the housing shortage”.

There has been speculation in Hout Bay that farmland along the river could be bought to provide additional land, but Mr Quintas said he had “reservations” about using that riverside farmland.

ANC Western Cape finance spokesperson, Carol Beerwinkel, said she had only been made aware of the budget allocation on the day of Dr Meyer’s budget speech last Tuesday.

“But, of course, we are always grateful to national government for any extra allocation for this specific purpose,” she said, adding that the R43 million needed to be spent in the current municipal financial year.

“This is also a conditional grant, so it can only be used for the purpose as instructed in the Division of Revenue Act,” she said.

SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO) chairman for Imizamo Yethu, Samkelo “Gary” Krweqe, welcomed the allocation, but warned it was no good simply buying up land.

“We need pieces of land, yes, but we also need to look at how the people are living.

“The space alone is not good enough; we need to upgrade shacks to formal housing. Having land but no proper housing is like driving a car without petrol.”

He appealed to the provincial government to ensure the money was spent within the financial year. “We cannot afford to have the money sent back to national government,” he said.

Riverside Terrace resident, Garth Dil, said he was surprised the R43 million was only being allocated to Imizamo Yethu.

“What about Hangberg, which also is in need of land? Why is there such an urgency to only spend money on IY?” he asked.