Housing project brings hope to fire victims

Human Settlement MEC Tertius Simmers turns the sod in Silvertown /Town 2 in Khayelitsha where a housing development will benefit 1 552 families, some of whom lost their belongings in a fire in 2018. Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for 342 households in Khayelitsha who lost their homes three years ago when a devastating fire destroyed their homes.

Vukani reported that the fire, which ripped through the settlement on Saturday October 20, 2018, left more than 1 300 people destitute (“Massive fire leaves residents homeless”, Vukani, October 25, 2018).

During a sod-turning ceremony on the site of the housing development on Tuesday November 16, Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers said the Silvertown Emergency Housing project was expected to commence early next year.

Mr Simmers told Vukani that the provincial government had set aside more than R240 million for the project which will include 1542 housing units, each of which will be 22m2 in size.

He added that the department had already spent R102 million on bulk infrastructure and last month they appointed a contractor.

He urged the community to work hand-in-hand with government to ensure that targets were met.

“Sadly a portion of the site was invaded and that has prevented a further 150 housing opportunities. I therefore appeal to the community to protect community projects and land which had been put aside for community development and upliftment.

“These people had been waiting for nearly four years and I’m glad that we are able to deliver on that promise. We have the people’s interest at heart and our role as the government is to ensure that we deliver on our promises,” he said.

Community project steering committee chairperson, Afika Ndlebe, said he was pleased that the project was finally getting under way after numerous delays.

He vowed that the community would take responsibility for ensuring that the construction site was protected against vandalism and theft.

This is the land which had been earmarked for housing development in Town Two for the residents who lost their belongings when devastating fire destroyed their homes in 2018.