Housing project in limbo

Thandabantu Mdliva and Monica Buda showing the list of houses that were approved but has yet to be built in Site B.

When senior citizens of Site B in Khayelitsha were promised better houses in 2016 through Khululeka Housing People’s Housing Project, they thought all their problems were solved.

But five years down the line, many of them are still not in their new homes.

The project, which began in 2016, was expected to have 200 homes, but only 147 have been built and occupied so far.

The City, however, says because the cost of building had increased, the number of units had had to be decreased.

The project leaders say the project should have been completed by now and have called on local and provincial government to explain why it has been stalled.

Chairperson Thandabantu Mdliva and secretary Monica Buda accused the two spheres of government of not having paid the project its establishment g rant of R8800 a house since 2016.

Mr Mdliva said; “We are in the dark and frustrated because people need houses. This is a big crisis and it seems no one wants to resolve it. It is not that we have done any corrupt element. The City of Cape Town officials came and saw the progress and they were always happy. Now they have stopped the project without giving us reasons,” he said.

Mr Mdliva said people are in despair of ever living in acceptable conditions and getting essential services.

“The 60 (who are waiting for their houses) were approved and we assured that we will build them. But last in 2020, we only built 15 houses. We are now going to winter and people need their houses. Why are they not giving us that opportunity to finish? I hate to say it but this is just part of corruption in our government. You will find out that the money is out but never reached us,” he told Vukani.

Ms Buda said scores of backyarders and shack dwellers were now starting to give up hope that the government would improve their unacceptable living conditions.

“A number of meetings were held with the municipality’s human settlement department but nothing came from them.

“All we know is that they have moved their offices to Bellville now. All we do is to communicate with phones and that is not helping either of us. It was better when there was an office in Khayelitsha. We plead with the government to finish the approved 60 houses,” she said.

Vukani contacted the Department of Human Settlements but they have yet to respond to our questions.

However, Malusi Booi, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for human settlements confirmed that the 200-unit project had been approved by the provincial Department of Human Settlements in 2016.

He said in October 2020 the project committee requested financial adjustments due to inflation and material price increase which the department granted.

“This led to a reduction in the number of approved units to 147 and the taking away of the Establishment Grant of R800, not R8 800 as mentioned.

“Unfortunately, in all PHP projects there is no formal employment and project committees are voluntarily assisting. This was communicated to the project leadership before it was implemented,” he said.

He added that work was under way at the last of the remaining units of the 147 approved by provincial government, but no timeframe was stipulated.