Councillor unhappy about housing project

More than 300 households from this area of Gxagxa, Lusaka, Kanana and New Rest have been moved to temporary relocation area in Delft and new houses in Forest Village.

The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements said it is making good progress in relocating existing and potential housing beneficiaries from the Airport Precinct housing project site.

More than 300 households have been moved from New Rest, Lusaka, Kanana and Gxagxa to temporary relocation areas (TRAs) in Delft and to new houses in Forest Village, the department said.

However, Ward 40 ANC councillor Bongani Ngcombolo said he is far from being happy with the process.

Mr Ngcombolo told Vukani only over 100 people are to be moved instead of the 1000 that former MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela had promised would be moved from Kanana only.

Ward 40 councillor Bongani Ngcombolo said he is far from happy with the development in his ward.

Responding to that, Nathan Adriaanse, Human Settlements’ director of communication and stakeholder relations said his department was not aware of an undertaking by former MEC Madikizela regarding 1 000 housing opportunities for the people of Kanana.

He said at the time, Mr Madikizela had mentioned 800 housing opportunities in Forest Village that would be split among the various Airport Precinct sites, including Kanana.

“The undertaking was therefore not intended solely for Kanana residents, but residents from other sites in the Airport Precinct as well. The department also confirms that, to date, 143 beneficiaries have been relocated from Kanana,” he said.

He added that the relocation of these families meant that his department would have a clear site for the contractor to start installing bulk infrastructure for one of its Catalytic Projects, the Airport Precinct housing project, launched in 2019.

He said the relocation began in 2019 and would continue until all households were accommodated in the temporary relocation areas (TRAs) in Delft.

“As soon as an adequate portion of the site is cleared, the contractor, Vharanani Property Services, will be commencing with construction. This is envisioned to be in the next three months,” he said.

Commenting on the progress made so far, Head of Department (HOD) Jacqui Samson said: “It is only through face-to-face meetings with the communities and the various local structures representing them that we have been able to achieve this success as it is always a challenging and emotional process to reach this point.

“As the department, we would like to thank residents of the mentioned informal settlements for their cooperation in this process. We encourage others who are yet to be relocated to follow through as this is for the betterment of their lives,” said Ms Samson.

She said her department had ensured that the temporary accommodation was safe and secured for residents for the duration of their stay.

According to the Department of Human Settlements, the project will benefit residents living in New Rest, Gxagxa, Kanana, Barcelona, Lusaka, Europe, Thambo Square and Vukuzenzele, among other informal settlements.

The Airport Precinct housing project will deliver 9 000 housing opportunities comprising duplex and multi-storey walk-ups to the greater Gugulethu area and its surrounds. Provision will be made for public open spaces, community facilities and market and play areas. The development forms part of the Southern Corridor Integrated Human Settlement Programme that will deliver approximately 50 000 housing opportunities to residents within the City of Cape Town.

But Mr Ngcombolo maintained that the province had deviated from the initial promise.

“This does make any impact on the lives of many. Another thing is that these people were supposed to have been moved from last year. This was purely for informal settlements but we see people from other areas now.

“There is no excitement. We do not agree with this approach. I am highly frustrated, I am very stressed. I have been part of the process but not implementation. This looks political. This project is not initiated for the Democratic Alliance,” he said.