District Mail

Lo­cal hous­ing al­lo­ca­tion row

- Yaseen Gaf­far South Africa News · African National Congress · Garden Village

SOM­ER­SET WEST – About 80 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the Louren­sia Park hous­ing de­vel­op­ment on Mon­day morn­ing (3 Au­gust), stag­ing a protest and threat­en­ing to bring con­struc­tion work to a halt.

Our peo­ple have been wait­ing for years to have a home but the last ap­pli­cants, peo­ple who are not even from here, are get­ting houses be­fore us.

Res­i­dents are irate that many ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the project are peo­ple from other ar­eas, such as Saldanha Bay, the East­ern Cape and Gaut­eng.

“The peo­ple of Gar­den Vil­lage are the right­ful ben­e­fi­cia­ries,” John Pre­to­rius, a mem­ber of the South African Na­tional Civic Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Sanco), de­clared.

A few weeks ago the first few houses were of­fi­cially handed over to the first ben­e­fi­cia­ries, of whom five were res­i­dents of Gar­den Vil­lage.

“Our peo­ple have waited for years to have a home, but the last ben­e­fi­cia­ries are mainly peo­ple who are not even from here. They are get­ting houses be­fore we do,” Pre­to­rius said.

The pro­test­ers were largely peace­ful, hold­ing plac­ards up de­mand­ing hous­ing, as Law En­force­ment kept a watchful eye.

Malusi Booi, May­oral Com­mit­tee mem­ber for Hu­man Set­tle­ments, ex­plained the ini­tial project was orig­i­nated by the then Helderberg Mu­nic­i­pal­ity around 2000. Ac­tual con­struc­tion took place in 2010-’11, the first phase of 216 units be­ing com­pleted by De­cem­ber 2011.

The com­mit­tee rep­re­sent­ing the com­mu­nity was formed at the time and, in con­sul­ta­tion with the then Helderberg Coun­cil, a list of pro­posed ben­e­fi­cia­ries was sub­mit­ted to the coun­cil, and was ap­proved at the time. Not all the ap­proved ben­e­fi­cia­ries on the list ap­proved by coun­cil could be ac­com­mo­dated, due to the lim­ited num­ber of com­pleted houses.

The cur­rent project, Louren­sia Park Phase 2, was started in 2017, with the com­ple­tion of the engi­neer­ing ser­vices the end of that year. The con­struc­tion of the top struc­tures for Phase 2 com­menced last year.

“The se­lec­tion of ben­e­fi­cia­ries for hous­ing projects is done in ac­cor­dance with the City’s Al­lo­ca­tion Pol­icy and Hous­ing Data­base to en­sure hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are al­lo­cated to qual­i­fy­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries in a fair and eq­ui­table man­ner,” Booi pointed out.

“The ben­e­fi­ciary tar­get ar­eas are de­ter­mined in con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sub­mit­ted to a Hous­ing Al­lo­ca­tion Com­mit­tee for ap­proval.”

He added that the right­ful ben­e­fi­cia­ries for the Louren­sia Park project are those ap­proved by the then

Helderberg Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Hous­ing Al­lo­ca­tion Pol­icy.

“The Phase 2 project has a to­tal of 150 op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Booi said. “Of these slightly more than 30% were re­main­ing ap­proved ben­e­fi­cia­ries from Phase 1, while the re­main­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries were then as per the Hous­ing Data­base.

“The com­mu­nity has con­sis­tently been in­formed of the City’s process of ben­e­fi­ciary se­lec­tion, in­clud­ing the rel­e­vant poli­cies and their roles. This con­firmed the City was ful­fill­ing its roles strictly in ac­cor­dance with its man­dates.”

Asked how many of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries were from ar­eas out­side Gar­den Vil­lage, Booi re­sponded the list of names of ap­proved ben­e­fi­cia­ries was made pub­lic, as per pol­icy.

“It must be made clear that the

City’s pol­icy al­lows for ben­e­fi­cia­ries from ‘other’ ar­eas,” he ex­plained. “In fact, it is a pre­req­ui­site that op­por­tu­ni­ties must be avail­able to res­i­dents of the wider area, be­cause there is a great hous­ing need in many com­mu­ni­ties – but the City’s re­sources, pub­lic money, are lim­ited.

“Ap­pli­cants are al­lowed to pro­vide an ad­dress that serves as their ap­pli­ca­tion ad­dress. The gen­eral pub­lic tends to as­sume a hous­ing project close to their area would be for ‘their’ peo­ple only. That is not cor­rect. It would not be fair.

“It is not pos­si­ble for the City to un­der­take projects per ward or per sub­coun­cil area only. The projects are for the ben­e­fit of the broader com­mu­nity.”

Booi con­cluded that dis­cus­sions on the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this project have been on­go­ing and the out­come has been ex­plained re­peat­edly.

“Un­for­tu­nately, to­wards the end of the project some par­ties do not want to ac­cept the an­swers given and con­tinue to try and dis­rupt the project in the hopes of ob­tain­ing a dif­fer­ent an­swer.”

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa