Housing project derailed

Kuils River residents burnt tires along the R300, causing road closure at the weekend.

A housing project has stalled after more than 100 protesters burnt tyres and blocked off the Kuils River Road and Stellenbosch Arterial Road on Saturday, claiming houses were being unfairly allocated.

This comes after a meeting between a private development company, Power Developments, and some residents on Friday, March 8 regarding the Highbury Phase 3 housing project.

Highbury Phase 3 is a Department of Human Settlements project with 264 RDP houses, 100 GAP houses and 100 military-veteran houses.

A newly formed group, Kuils River Concerned Citizens, is against the project, claiming people who have been on the City’s housing waiting list for decades aren’t benefiting (“Residents feel sidelined by housing project,” Northern News, January 23).

Yolanda Tala, a member of the KRCC, accused the Department of Human Settlements and Ward 19 councillor Ricardo Saralina of making empty promises to grant houses to people who had been on the waiting list for more than 20 years.

At a meeting at the Kalkfontein Primary School hall in January, Human Settlements official Mbongi Gabuza said the department would take a second look at the City’s housing list, but he asked community leaders to send it a list of backyarders who had been waiting at least 10 years for a house.

If the names on that list matched the City’s housing waiting list, those people would get homes, he said. (“Why was I not considered for a home?” Northern News, January 30).

Ms Tala said residents had learnt at the meeting with Power Developments last Friday that only two of the 165 names the KRCC had put forward in its list to the department on Friday February 1 had been chosen

“This has angered us because we have spent endless hours compiling the list, and only two people are being considered. We are fed up with the promises made by the department and Councillor Ricardo Saralina. He said he would ensure that our people get houses,” she said.

Another protester, Albert Joseph, said he lived in his mother’s yard and had been on the waiting list for six years.

He said he feared that if people who had been on the waiting list for nearly ten could not get houses then his chances were very slim.

Power Development project manager Albert September, said he could not comment without getting permission from the Department of Human Settlements, but he said he was aware of a list with 165 names. “But only a certain amount will be beneficiaries. I do not know what amount will be beneficiaries. This is what was discussed at the meeting.”

Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, spokesperson for Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, said a housing allocation list sourced from the City’s database had been disputed by residents who claimed elderly people had been excluded from the allocation process.

The claims were being investigated, she said.

The allocation process was “on hold”, she said, until the department could verify the names residents had submitted against those on the City’s database.

The department was making plans, she said, to meet the community leaders and given them feedback on the verification process and the date of allocation.

Mr Saralina said residents were putting him under pressure but there was little he could do as Human Settlements was handling the project.

“I am only informed about the way forward with the project because it is within my ward.”

The project’s beneficiary list was incomplete, he said, because people had either submitted incorrect details, were homeowners or had not been on the waiting list for as long as they claimed to have been.

“Some of them are dishonest,” he said.

“The residents do not want to follow the process of this project but instead they protest.”

There were more than 3000 backyarders in communities such as Kalkfontein but only 264 houses in the project.

“It is impossible that all of these people are beneficiaries, but I feel it with my community as I no longer want them to live like this. I will stand behind them, but they need to follow the process.”

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