Thousands queue for housing

Benedicta van Minnen

There were 12 466 people from Kraaifontein, including Bloekombos and Wallacedene, on the City of Cape Town’s housing database by Monday morning, October 24.

Benedicta van Minnen, Mayco member for human settlements, said on average, the council’s housing database grew by more than 1 000 new applications every month.

The City’s digital housing database, launched in November 2014 to help applicants across the metro to update their details and register, has more than 15 000 new applicants who registered by using the online housing portal.

As of December 2015, Ms Van Minnen said, applicants have also been able to check the status of their housing application by sending an SMS with their ID number, followed by a space and their surname to 44108.

She emphasised the importance of protecting the database’s integrity and accuracy of the database through technology.

“The City of Cape Town is about to further its drive to increase efficiencies in the way that it manages its housing database through technology.

“There are approximately 300 000 applicants registered on the database who have expressed their need for a housing opportunity. As the need is pronounced, the database must be protected and managed properly to ensure that potential beneficiaries stand a fair chance at receiving a housing opportunity.”

Very soon, the City’s housing database will be linked to its property database which will enable the City’s data administration staff to immediately see whether an applicant already owns a property within the metro, she said.

She said this would prevent time and resources from being wasted on non-qualifying applications.

“According to the criteria for receiving a state-subsidised housing opportunity, applicants who have previously owned property do not qualify for an opportunity which involves ownership,” Ms Van Minnen said.

The City is trying to eradicate approximately 6 000 duplicate records, she said.

Ms Van Minnen told a visiting delegation from the human settlements directorate of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro that it was important to have a housing database which is protected, updated and audited to prevent queue-jumping and data-tampering.

Unlike the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, she said, the City’s database is run independently from the national and provincial governments, although the City’s beneficiary list corresponds with the applicants who are on the databases of other spheres of government.

“Our database has several fire walls in place and various levels of access control. It is important that unauthorised people may not access critical data. In addition, the database is free from potential political interference.

“Councillors may view the database but may not change any details which have been captured on it.

“This is one way that we are trying to ensure fairness and transparency,” she said.

She said getting registered applicants to update their contact details and correcting some invalid ID
numbers, remained a challenge for the City.

“Remember, if we cannot get hold of a beneficiary when it is their chance to receive a housing opportunity, it is given to the next person on the list,” Ms Van Minnen said.

* To apply for a place on the City of Cape Town’s housing database online, visit http://web1.capetown.gov.za/web1/HWL2012Online/