Putting roofs over people’s heads

Councillors Beverley van Reenen and Marlene Abrahams who are on the human settlements portfolio committee, Ward 10 councillor Jacoline Visser, the City's head of ownership Odell Jansen and Mayco member for human settlements, Malusi Booi.
Almost  70% of informal backyarders in the metro are not formally registered on the City of Cape Town’s database and not eligible for subsidised housing, according to m.The City of Cape Town’ mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, who visited the Parow Housing Office last week.

The City opened the office inside Parow Centre in 2019 because it is close to public transport. Staff assist residents with registration on the housing database and check their status and update their details. 

They also administer the sale and transfer of saleable rental units, delayed transfer units and serviced sites.

The City’s head of ownership, Odell Jansen, says about 570 residents visited the office and attend to 1 500 housing database enquiries each month.

One of them is Desiree Anthony. She was there with her uncle, David Martin of Ravensmead. 

Ms Anthony, 47, registered on the database in 1997 and has been told to return to the office regularly to check her status on the housing list. However, she has a job in Belhar and must ask for time off to visit the office. She presently pays R3 500 rent per month for her school-going daughter and son who is not working. 

She has been told that an office storing hard copies of the housing records burnt down. Ms Anthony is frustrated at seeing young people moving into houses while she waits. 

She spoke to councillor Marlene Abrahams who is on the human settlements portfolio committee. Ms Abrahams told Ms Anthony that the City was working from a list, and she confirmed that one of the record stations had burnt down.

Elizabeth Adams, 62, said she had been waiting for a house for 23 years. She visits the housing office from Delft once a month. Carrying an overnight bag, she said she lived in Gouda and had to stay with her sister in Uitsig.

Mr Booi toured the smart  the office, greeting some of the 39 staff who work in geographical areas of the Cape metro. They deal with a backlog of 1 500  outstanding registrations that have not been finalised. 

One of the staff members, Venette Thompson, said it was hard to find some people registered on the database because their contact details had changed. 

Mr Booi said: “The City will contact residents as soon as housing opportunities become available and needs the correct details to do so. We need residents to work with us and to take responsibility for what is required of them.”