Residents want clarity over housing list

One of the single-storey units at the Morningstar Housing Development.

Tempers flared at a meeting meant to discuss the beneficiary list for the Morningstar Housing Development.

Various officials met at the Sub-council 7 chambers on Thursday December 7 with members of the Morningstar Development and Upliftment Initiative (MDUI).

The meeting, however, was a fruitless exercise and left many angrier than when they had come in.

The burning issue was the City’s beneficiary list and whether the 124 “Morningstar beneficiaries” were indeed from Morningstar.

Northern News reported last month on Morningstar residents who said the City had failed to meet the housing needs of families in the area with the R34 million development (“Morningstar housing needs not met,” Northern News, November 23).

The 166-unit development on the corner of School and Pikkewyn streets spans more than 1.6ha and will be home to some 664 people living in 152 double-storey and 14 single-storey homes.

The City had initially stated that 132 of the project’s 166 beneficiaries would come from Morningstar, but at the meeting on Thursday, City officials said it was in fact 124.

Residents said they knew of only 15 beneficiaries who were from Morningstar.

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, said 33 houses were for people who had been on the City’s housing waiting list the longest, and nine were for people with special needs, leaving 124 houses for Morningstar residents.

Officials displayed the beneficiary list on a screen, but the MDUI said it meant nothing to them as it only showed names and surnames and not street addresses.

MDUI member Shaigon Jacobs accused the City of using delay tactics and asked why it was so hard to just get the list with the addresses.

He said they had asked for the list prior to the meeting, but it had not materialised.

MDUI members walked out of the meeting briefly, calling it one-sided.

“You are busy wasting our time,” said Mr Jacobs. “All we wanted was the list to identify if the beneficiaries are from Morningstar.”

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said the meeting was meant to discuss alternative housing solutions; reviewing the list was futile as it could not be changed.

There was a contract between the City and the beneficiaries, whose subsidies had been used to build these houses.

“We are not touching this list. We can argue about it, but it’s not going to change. We have entered into a contract and cannot break it,” he said.

The project — which is for those earning under R3500 a month — was too far down the line, he said, and other solutions would need to be found to house those who had not qualified.

Ms Little proposed a private meeting with Duke Gumede, of the City’s human settlement directorate, and members of the MDUI, to go over the list and highlight the beneficiaries in question.

“We will then go over the beneficiaries you have queried and investigate,” she said.