No sign of promised Masiphumelele houses

Construction was due to start six months ago

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Photo of empty land
There is no sign of the construction of nearly 230 houses which was due to start last December. Photo: Thembela Ntongana

Nearly six months after construction was due to start, there is no sign of the long-awaited houses to be built on former national park land in Masiphumelele.

In response to a query from GroundUp on 30 June 2017, the City of Cape Town said civil engineering services for the provision of water, electricity, sewage and roads were underway and would be completed by August 2017. Building of houses would begin before the end of 2017 and should take approximately 12 months, Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development Brett Herron said then.

The ten hectare piece of land was sold for R1.5 million by Table Mountain National Park to the City in 2004, park manager Paddy Gordon told GroundUp in January 2016.

Four to five hectares will be left once the housing project is complete.

The development will include 227 houses, with 63% of beneficiaries being Masiphumelele backyarders, 30% Masiphumelele wetland informal settlement residents, 5% Masiphumelele residents with special needs and 2% families from list of applicants who have been on the City’s housing database the longest, Herron said.

Community leader Tshepo Moletsane said this week that dates for the beginning of construction kept changing. The project had been in the pipeline for years, he said.

“When I asked the ward councillor in March this year she said by May construction would start. We are now nearing the end of May and still nothing has started,” said Moletsane.

When GroundUp asked Herron why the project had not started yet, he said extensive additional earthworks were required which had caused the long delay and that a “protracted tender process is further delaying the project”.

“The City is still dealing with complications relating to the procurement of a top structure and electrical infrastructure contractor but the project is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018,” said Herron.

Thandeka Hlolo, 53, who has been living in wetlands informal settlement since 1996, is one of the beneficiaries. She lives with her four children and grandchild and has been a victim of fires several times. Hlolo got a letter almost two years ago telling her she would be receiving a house.

“I hope things go through and this project happens so I can finally get my house,” said Hlolo.

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TOPICS:  Government Housing

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