IY housing project forges on despite concerns

There has been some confusion among residents over how the establishment of the temporary relocation areas (TRAs) to accommodate victims of the Imizamo Yethu fires will impact the continuing development of formalised housing in the settlement.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas had been alerted to some comments on social networks about the formal housing, and has moved to emphasise that work on the Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses and Community Residential Units (CRUs) was forging ahead.

“As a result of the fires, people are now more aware of the housing challenges in IY than they were before. Over the years there have been many delays to the formal housing project, so I would like to clear up any misconceptions there may be.”
Mr Quintas said there had been extensive engagement with residents, including a number of open days in which they could express their view to the City.

“Last year consensus was reached between the City and residents, and a final presenta-
tion on the third phase of the Imizamo Yethu formal housing project was made on February 4 this year.

“As a passenger travelling down Victoria Avenue past Suikerbossie and you look across towards IY, you will see bare expanses which is where the formal housing will be. This area has already been identified for the BNG houses and CRUs.

“The community expressed concern that one of the TRAs also occurs in this region, Site 2. However, this is not part of the formal housing. This area had been used by the contractor to store materials, but when the fire happened we had to look at where a TRA could be positioned. The area for the formal housing will not be affected.”

In his presentation in February, the City’s housing project manager, Bernadus Wentzel, explained that there would be up to a thousand units on the sites known as Petersen, Forestry and Penzance.

Almost half of these are on the Forestry site, with 240 CRU flats and 252 BNG houses earmarked. CRUs, which take the form of flats, are rented from the City, while in the case of BNG homes residents own both the house and plot. CRU units are stacked in in three levels accessed from an internal staircase which is more suited to extreme weather conditions.

All units have two bedrooms, kitchen, living area and ablutions. Each BNG house will have two bedrooms, one bathroom and one living area. Access to a BNG home necessitates that the applicant is a South African citizen or have a permanent residence permit, be older than 40, be married or 
have a permanent partner, or be single with dependents, not earn more than R3 500 a month 
and not be a property owner before.

A CRU applicant may have owned property before, may have an income between R3 5000 and R10 000 a month. The list of applicants will be registered on a housing data base, and those on the list will be invited to fill in housing subsidy application forms. Completed applications will be checked by province who approve or reject subsidy applications. “It is hoped that we will see the first top structures in 2018,” Mr Quintas said.