Housing delay questioned by locals

Roscoe Jacobs

Community activists say they fear Hangberg’ Phase 2 Housing Project land could be illegally occupied if the City doesn’t resume work on the scheme soon.

Lee Adams and Roscoe Jacobs have accused the City of “procrastination”, saying the delay “perpetuates land invasion”.

In a statement, they say housing projects put on hold across the City during the Covid-19 hard lockdown can resume now under the more relaxed level 1 restrictions, but”the City’s management have dragged its feet to get back to fulfilling its constitutional mandate”.

They call for the “immediate completion” of the project.

“Housing delayed is housing denied. The continued delay in the project might result in occupation of the allocated land which we as activists don’t want to see. We therefore demand the City of Cape Town fulfil its duty and protect our community’s constitutional right to housing,” the statement says.

In 2016, the City handed over 72 two-bedroomed flats at highly subsidised rentals to Hangberg families.

The City says it is working at delivering “far more than that” in the next phase of the project.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said: “We must be sure that we build appropriate housing, in the appropriate way, on the appropriate site and for the appropriate beneficiary.”

In May 2018, the City approved the appointment of the consultants for the project. In December 2018 proposed sites were announced to the community at a large public meeting. In mid-2019, a community-elected project steering committee was elected. The committee was required to provide feedback to the community on the project’s progress, Mr Quintas said.

Geo-technical and feasibility studies were being done to confirm the viability and possible yield of the sites for the project, he said, adding that further investigation could lead to alternative or additional sites being identified.

While Covid-19 had put a stop to most meetings and slowed progress, face-to-face consultations with the elected community representatives had since recommenced, he said.

“Items such as beneficiary lists and typology of housing options are being discussed,” he said.

“These processes take time, as we are working with millions of rand of taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ money, and, as such, there can be no ‘quick decisions’ on spending.”

Despite the uncertainty, many of those waiting for a home to call their own have not lost hope.

Marly Jones with her three children is one of them. She has been living in a wendy house for the past three years.

“I am so happy that the wet days are behind us, because me and my children are tired of putting up with the wendy during winter,” said the unemployed mother.

“I saw the people get their houses a few years back, and my heart just broke. I lost my husband at sea, and I always had to fight for my family. The City is taking very long, but I am prepared to be patient if it means I can put my family in a place,” Ms Jones said.

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