Housing waiting list fury

Abe Braaf, community worker, New Horizon

Our advice office is assisting a group of about 20 clients (they formed a pressure group) who have been on the City of Cape Town’s housing waiting list for between 17 and 27 years.

We have called for a meeting with the mayor and human settlements department as our clients at a recent meeting decided to vigorously attend to the problem.

We would like to know why they missed the many housing opportunities and why people who are only on the waiting list less than 12 years and even less got houses in New Horizon and other projects.

According to information (which we verified) and complaints lodged with our office, we can confirm that there are beneficiaries who did not move in since date of allocation with some places only having furniture in the houses (They come on weekends to braai or party or switch on the lights.

Some beneficiaries allow other people or family to occupy the house, while others are renting out the house for a high amount.

According to a person (who filed an affidavit with our office) the office of the City’s Ombudsman in 2018 declared that the following was conveyed to her by that office – that there are about 100 houses as indicated above and 50 houses allocated to persons who did not meet the qualifying criteria.

Furthermore, it was also brought to our attention that a few beneficiaries have sold their houses.

We hope that the mayor will meet with us. We have decided to monitor the allocation in the proposed Phase 2 of the New Horizon Housing Project and any other housing project of the City. Our clients also instructed us to request that the Minister of Human Settlement lodge an enquiry into the State of Affairs regarding the New Horizon Housing Project in relation to these alleged claims / complaints as a matter of urgency, however, we have decided to hold it over until we have a meeting with the mayor.

People who are on the waiting list for more than 17 years who wish to join the pressure group may contact our office via WhatsApp or SMS on 071 216 9894 or abeparalegalservice@yahoo.com

* Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements, responds:

My office and the City’s human settlements directorate have been liaising with Mr Braaf regarding his concerns.

The officials have investigated the list of names provided by Mr Braaf of individuals who unfortunately did not receive a housing opportunity in the Pelican Park housing project.

Mr Braaf has been informed that some individuals listed were not registered on the housing database while others previously owned property or lived outside of the source area for the housing project.

The directorate is willing to investigate the various claims related to irregularities in the allocation of housing opportunities and, in order to do so, Mr Braaf needs to provide the City with the details (names and identity numbers) of the individuals who allegedly benefited from irregular allocations.

Furthermore, while beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to occupy their homes immediately after completion, the City cannot compel people to remain in occupation of their homes after handover. If it is the case that people leave their properties vacant, it is regrettable as there is a large number of families on the City’s housing waiting list who are in need of housing.

It is important to note that beneficiaries of Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing opportunities become the rightful owners of their homes once their houses are registered in their names. As the legal property owners, they are responsible for the house, including its upkeep, maintenance and management should they consider renting their homes in future.

In light of this, beneficiaries, as private property owners, are encouraged to make responsible decisions regarding the safekeeping of their homes for the future, which is an asset to them and their families.

Beneficiaries are also reminded that BNG houses have a specific title deed condition that does not allow them to sell their homes within the first eight years of having received their housing opportunity.

It is important for beneficiaries to note that they can only sub-let their homes once the property has been registered in their names. If they breach this condition, the City reserves the right to reclaim the house and then allocate and transfer the property to the next applicant on the database or to the person in occupation.

The City will only be able to investigate claims in this regard if the allegations are reported to the City and details are provided for our investigation.