Newfields AEC Press Statement
The Newfields Village community has once again been left in limbo by the Cape Town community housing company (CTCHC) which has stopped repairs to the defective Hanover Park houses, claiming it has no more money.
We are baffled by this because even though the city sold off its shares in CTCHC last year, it is still a public entity now owned by the National Housing Finance Corporation which falls under department of housing.
The national home builders regulatory council says it won’t issue certificates to say our houses are structurally sound because the doors and doorframes are falling apart.
At the same time we are expected to pay rent for these houses, which have always been structurally unsound and which continue to be unsound and unsafe for us.
We believe money was allocated for our house repairs, as a result of our long struggle (see history below).
So where is this money now?
We demand the proper house repairs we were promised.
For more information, please call Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign co-ordinator Gary Hartzenberg on 0723925859
2 400 low cost houses were built by the Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) between 1994 and 2000.
Almost immediately after residents moved in, the rent they had been told they would pay (R300 per month) was hiked to about R1500 per month.
Simultaneously, the houses began literally falling apart - damp walls, inadequate foundations and poor plumbing and cracks in the walls started appearing.
The city, which owns the CTCHC, refused to do anything until the community embarked on a rent boycott.
The CTCHC houses are situated in Newfields Village, Manenberg, Philippi, Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu.
Finally after a five year struggle by the community, the National Home Builders’ Registration Council appointed an independent consultant to audit the houses.
The audit found houses with severe cracks, poor brick-laying, loose roof tiles, soil erosion, gaps between walls and door frames and rusting window frames.
The city has launched legal action against the contractors, who they say took short cuts, to determine why the 10 low-cost housing projects were so shoddily built.
The bill for the repairs so far has run to R90 million.
Despite this, new contractors doing the repairs are again taking shortcuts to maximise their profits and are installing pointless things like plastic window latches, instead of normal metal window frames and window latches.
The repairs have cost R38 000 per house so far.
What is tragic is that most members of the community spent their tiny life savings on trying to repair their homes once the defects started to appear, as did many other communities around the country in the same position – N2 Gateway flats in Langa, Mandela Park houses.
CTCHC is still trying to escape doing proper repairs.