21 years… and Teddy’s back on the list
Backyard dweller was due to get house but then a student who lives in E Cape got it
A 63-YEAR-OLD Mitchells Plain man, who has been on the Cape Town city council’s housing waiting list for 21 years, had hoped he would be in his own home for Christmas after his subsidy was approved for a house last year .
But Teddy Cyril Timm’s joy was shortlived when he found out that even though he’d begun receiving bills for municipal services relating to the property, he could not move in. This was because the house had meanwhile been allocated to a student who apparently lets out the house to tenants.
With his hopes dashed Timm, has been placed back on the 346 000-long housing waiting list.
However, Timm, an unemployed backyard dweller who lives in a Wendy house on someone else’s property in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, told Weekend Argus he might not live long enough to be finally granted a home because he suffers from heart problems.
“I almost died last Christmas when I had a heart attack,” he said.
Timm is a member of a group of people who recently met senior housing officials to try to find out how far they are on the housing list.
The group, led by April Engelbrecht, the chairwoman of the Beacon Valley and Westridge Residents Association, tried to find out when they will be granted homes.
The city’s human settlements strategic director Alida Kotze and senior human settlement officials Brian Shelton and Trevor Mitchell told the group they would investigate and report back to them.
(The Cape Town city council refused to allow Weekend Argus to observe this meeting).
On May 3 last year, Timm was overjoyed when he received the documents to inform him his housing subsidy had been approved for Erf 57163.
Soon afterwards, he started receiving electricity, water and sewerage bills for the property.
But when he started to make enquiries and visited the property in Stella Way, Mitchells Plain, he found somebody else had moved into his government-subsidised home.
He discovered the house had been allocated to a journalism student, who has gone back to the Eastern Cape and according to Timm has let the property to a tenant for R500 a month.
“I’ve been to the council’s housing offices already this year.
“I’m always visiting the council, pestering them. I’ve walked myself tired for this house. There, my house is standing. But somebody else is living in my house.
“Now they want to put me back on the waiting list that I’ve been on since 1990
I had a heart attack in December. I have high blood pressure and angina. I don’t think I will live as long as to wait until they offer me another home,” said an upset Timm.
Sonnenberg confirmed city council officials could not trace Timm at the time the house was supposed to be allocated to him and that the council then allocated the home to somebody else. At the time, Timm
six times was “in hospital due to a heart attack” and this was one of the reasons he could not be found.
However, Timm and his daughter, Shinazj Jeftha, said it was impossible that council officials were unable to find them and the only possible explanation was that officials did not make the effort to look for them.
No one from the council called Timm on his cellphone number or Jeftha on her cellphone number, which always accompanies Timm’s paperwork.
Council officials also didn’t visited Timm’s Wendy house in Tafelsig, even though they sent his bills to that address.
He and his daughter said had officials bothered to go to the house, people there would have told the council where Timm was.
Jeftha said: “My father had a hernia operation in December. Soon afterwards, he had heart failure and we didn’t believe he was going to be home for Christmas. It’s not his fault he had a heart attack”.
The Cape Town city council refused to allow Weekend Argus access to the housing waiting list on the grounds they were protecting the privacy of the people on it.
In addition, Sonnenberg made it clear that even if the public had access to the list, they would not be able to find out the basic information relating to their government-subsidised homes.
Sonnenberg said the list did not indicate an applicant’s position on the list, when an applicant would receive a home, or which project the applicant was part of.
Sonnenberg said: “There are at present 346 562 names registered on the database. The data is confidential as it contains personal information.
“Lists are regularly misinterpreted and lead to wrong assumptions or conclusions which create serious problems,” he said.
MISSED OUT: Teddy Timm’shouse has been allocated to someone else who lets it, according to him.
BACKYARD: Teddy Timm in the Wendy house he occupies while he waits for another house.