Housing survey under way

Phumlani Mbulawa, left, alongside youth activist Roscoe Jacobs at the briefing session on Monday night.

The Hangberg community this week gave the Housing Development Authority (HDA) the go-ahead to conduct a housing survey in the area.

Representatives from the HDA addressed a meeting at the Hangberg sports and recreation centre on Monday November 12.

Their presence resulted from a hunger strike undertaken by Hout Bay youth activist Roscoe Jacobs in July.

Mr Jacobs had implored President Cyril Ramaphosa to address housing inequalities in Hout Bay as well as redress apartheid spatial planning in the village.

Roshene Singh, deputy director general in the office of the president, had engaged the national Department of Human Settlements, through the HDA, to develop a plan to address the most pressing housing needs of the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities.

The HDA has been tasked with engaging all departments within all spheres of government, as well as the affected communities in Hout Bay.

Phumlani Mbulawa, the HDA’s development manager for Western Cape projects, announced that a market survey of a sample of 2 000 households in Hangberg would be conducted.

This would be to establish aspects such as monthly household incomes, who owned or rented property, how long people had been living in their homes and what type of homes were required by the community, be they community residential units (CRUs) or Breaking New Ground (BNG) homes.

A survey will also be conducted in Imizamo Yethu of the same sample size.

The HDA has enlisted Cape Town-based Eighty20 Consulting to conduct the survey.

Eighty20’s Dorcas Anguria said the 2 000 households would provide a broader picture of what the community required.

“The survey will be conducted over a period of five to seven weeks,” she said.

Twenty members of the community will be recruited as field workers. Interested parties will be able to submit their CVs, undergo an interview process and if selected, be put through a four-day training programme. They will then be tested prior to going out in the field.

“All our contractual obligations have already been met, and we are available to start the process as early as next week if the community wants to,” Mr Mbulawa said.

Mr Jacobs, who chaired the meeting, explained that the information obtained during the survey would then be taken to all the different spheres of government for consideration.

The HDA has identified 19 pockets of land for social housing in the Hout Bay area, running from Hangberg to Constantia.

When questions were opened to the floor, residents expressed concerns that Hangberg would be “left behind”.

“Every time a housing project happens in Hout Bay, it never happens in Hangberg,” said Lee Smith.

“The harbour community is moving at a snail’s pace compared to what is happening in IY, where there is superblocking and a formal housing development going on.”

Mr Mbulawa responded that the HDA’s approach was to be “50-50” in respect of Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu, and that no community should be left behind.

He added that the superblocking process was related to fires in Imizamo Yethu, and that the process was a means to implement access roads for fire trucks during such disasters.

However, Mr Smith pointed out that just because Hangberg was a smaller area, it did not mean that its residents did not experience the same level of loss when fires occurred. Last month two people died in a fire that left more than 90 residents homeless.

Concerns were also raised that the HDA would be accessing existing housing lists that were last updated by the City of Cape Town in 2006. “We don’t want a situation where people are claiming houses when these properties now belong to someone else,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Mbulawa suggested that an “information day” be held to iron out many of these issues.

Peace and Mediation Forum chairperson,JanLewis,asked whether a land audit had been undertaken, and Mr Mbulawa assured him that it had been concluded.

The community was in agreement that the survey be initiated as soon as possible.