Twenty-four more families from Kanana informal settlement near Gugulethu moved to the Forest Village housing project on Tuesday February 23.
The families, who have been waiting for houses for up to 20 years, ululated and moaned about the long wait as the Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers and local councillor Bongani Ngcombolo visited them to witness the swift relocation, wish them well and say goodbye.
Nine of the beneficiaries are living with a disability including 31-year-old Zameka Mabombo and 56-year-old Nomneliso Ntongana.
Nomalanga Ngudle, 62, and Nomthandazo Gwebeshu, 61, are the oldest beneficiaries.
According to the department, the relocation of these families means that the contractor, Vharanani Property Services, will have a clear site to start laying bulk infrastructure for the Airport Precinct Catalytic housing project, launched in 2019.
The relocation began in 2019 and will continue until all households are accommodated in the Forest Village housing project and at temporary relocation areas in Delft.
The MEC said as soon as an adequate portion of the site is cleared the contractor will start with construction.
In wishing them all the best in their new houses, Mr Simmers warned beneficiaries to take care of the houses and not sell them.
He said beneficiaries have a tendency of selling their houses cheaply and go back to informal settlements.
“It is a concern for us when people sell their houses after a long wait. Remember if you sell your house, you will not have a chance to get a house again,” said Mr Simmers.
He acknowledged that the process was not as fast as it could have been. He sighted some challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Ngcombolo was also happy with the relocation although he said the numbers being moved are too small. “This is one of the biggest informal settlements in the provinces and not only that but the oldest. We accept the relocation but we are not happy with the numbers and the slow progress to relocate people. This is where people should be relocated in numbers. But we have engaged the MEC and he has his reasoning. We will keep engaging him going forward,” said Mr Ngcombolo
For the beneficiaries, it’s been a long wait but they were happy to move to proper houses.
Nomneliso Ntongana was delighted because her disabled child will now have a secure home.
“Today I feel happy. I am very excited. My child will be under a roof and a secure place. She got lost here but where we are going she will be in a better place. There will also be water, a better ablution system and electricity. The days of fetching water far in Gugulethu are over now,” she said excitedly.
Mama Nomalanga Ngudle shared the same sentiments. “I waited too long and at some point I lost hope. Just last year my shack was gutted by fire and I lost everything. It has been tough here especially on rainy days. Winter times here were horrible. I am glad to finally move even though it took too long.”
She said she waited for 27 years to finally get a proper house and place she could call home. Mr Simmers has promised that more people will soon be moved to Forest Village in order for the Airport Precinct Catalytic housing project to resume.