Court battle for houses

South Africa - Cape Town - 2 September 2019 - Security officers are patrolling the newly build housing development in Morningstar, Durbanville. The 166 newly build homes have been standing empty for over a year now. The housing units are aimed at households with a monthly income of less than R3500. Beneficiaries were supposed to move into the homes in September 2018 but a group of people have stopped the process by taking the City of Cape Town to court. The Breaking New Ground project in Morningstar was completed at a cost of more than R30m. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)
A housing project in Durbanville was finished in September 2018, but the 166 state-subsidised homes stand empty because of a dispute over who should move into them.

The Morningstar Development and Upliftment Initiative (MDUI) has interdicted the City from handing over the houses in the R34.2 million Morningstar Housing Project on the corner of Langeberg Road and Pikkewyn Street.

The group complains that most of the beneficiaries are from outside of Morningstar. 

Zane Williams, chairperson of the MDUI, said: “Only a small portion of the residents from Morningstar are on the list to get houses, and this is unacceptable. In an area where the need for housing is so great, the residents of the area should get first preference. Together with our legal team, we have come up with a new proposal where 75% of the houses will be allocated to the local community of Morningstar.”

The City was reviewing that proposal, he said.
The Cape Argus reported late last month that keys had been given to beneficiaries, residents but Mr Williams said that nobody had been given keys. That would only happen once the court case had been concluded. 

Mr Williams said the MDUI was also unhappy with the selection process. 

He said there had been no public participation.

“The City’s department of human settlements has guidelines to determine the selection criteria for the beneficiary list, and we felt that these guidelines were not followed. We then attempted to meet with the City to discuss these matters, yet we were ignored on multiple occasions. In September 2018, we then arranged a protest to stop the handover and in return, the City interdicted us, which we immediately opposed.”

Mr Williams claimed the names of 70 local beneficiaries had been omitted for no reason from the final list of beneficiaries.

“That’s simply unacceptable and impossible,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are fears homeless people will occupy the empty houses, although security guards at the site told the Northern News that so far that had not happened.

Mayco member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, said the City was opposing the application to review the housing allocation process.

The court’s decision would determine the way forward, he said.

A court date has yet to be set, leaving the future of the Morningstar Housing Project in limbo.