Goodwood social housing woes

An artist's impression of what the Goodwood social housing project will look like.

Not a single brick has been laid in the first phase of a social housing project in Goodwood. It was supposed to be finished by October next year.

Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo and Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela launched the R308 million social housing project with a sod-turning ceremony in March.
At the event, Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, a spokeswoman for Mr Madikizela, said the two-phase project would have more than 1 055 rental housing opportunities and 5135m2 of retail space.
“Phase one of the project will yield 317 units and is expected to be completed in October next year,” she said.
The situation has caused an outcry on social media. Stop COCT founder Sandra Dickson said the wheels had again come off a low-cost housing development.
“It appears to have been a window dressing. The parties that needed to work together are again blaming each other for failing to deliver,” she said.
There are fears the R308 million grant could be exhausted before a brick has been laid.     
Provincial Department of Human Settlements spokesperson Nathan Adriaanse said the R308 million funding was still available.
Finding the right BEE contractor to tackle a project of this scale had caused the delay, he said.
The project is a collaboration between the national and provincial departments of human settlements, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority, the City of Cape Town and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.
The developer is Century City-based DCI Community Housing Services, a non-profit BEE organisation.
DCI general manager Fezile Calana said several contractors that applied to build the houses had been turned down.
“We have received six applications, but we had to turn them down because they were not in a proper financial position. Most of the construction companies are going under and it’s not easy to appoint a contractor. Some do not meet the proper criteria as well.”
Ms Dickson said it was hard to believe that six tenders could all have been sub-standard and the reasons needed to be investigated and disclosed to the public.
Mr Adriaanse said the Goodwood station project would consist of six storey apartment blocks on both sides of the railway line, offering units ranging from bachelor to two-bedroom flats and catering to those earning between R1 500 and R15 000 a month with 30% of the project allocated to people earning less than R3 500 a month.
Ms Makoba-Somdaka said the project was part of a push to densify settlements near public transport.
“It will provide much-needed housing opportunities for previously disadvantaged low-income earners in Goodwood, Ruyterwacht and surrounding areas,” she said.
Ms Dickson said the project was poorly planned and its “failure” should be investigated.