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

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDENHUYS

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.

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