Newfields and Railway to occupy offices of corrupt CTCHC

28 11 2008

Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Friday 28 November, 2008 at 09h00

Today, the 28th of November 2008, the residents and of Newfields Village and Railway council homes are heading to the head offices of Cape Town Community Housing Company as we speak. We are going to occupy the offices until the CTCHC explains the following to our satisfaction (which they have refused to explain to us previously):

  1. MEC Whitey Jacobs are holding onto R46 million until contractors clean up their mess with regards to the project.
  2. CTCHC CEO Informed the Standing Committee on Housing (Kent Morkel) that there is only R16 million left out of the R46 million that the MEC is holding onto. We demand to know what happened to the other R30 million allocated for the 9 council homes managed by CTCHC.
  3. The Community Liaison Official (CLO), the ‘Structure’ and the PSG alleges that there is no communication as promised from CTCHC. Contractors have threatened to leave by 12/12/08 even though the houses have not been completed. On the other hand, contractors have taken shortcuts with regards to the fixing of floors and painting of doors and walls. There has been malicious deviation from the original agreement/specifications of the doors (which are substandard) and the painting (which is not being done properly). None of these deviations have been made in consultation with the effected communities. The renewal of all structures are not getting done properly despite claims that the money has already been allocated to contractors.
  4. The MEC has given CTCHC 30 days to find common ground with communities - all to no avail.

For further information, please contact:

Adeeb at
Peter at
Gary at

Western Cape Housing MEC to inspect poorly built Newfields village houses tomorrow

11 09 2008

Thursday September 11, 2008
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement

The media are invited to join the Anti-Eviction Campaign tomorrow (Friday 12 September 200 8)at 11am in Newfields Village, next to Hanover Park, Cape Town, as we host new Housing MEC Whitey Jacobs.

Jacobs has responded to our request to him that he come and inspect our houses.

We have been once again thrust into crisis by the government who, after agreeing to repair our poorly built flats, then decided to install plastic window latches.

Criminals are now having a field day in Newfields Village breaking off these latches and stealing our few prized possessions.

Below please find background information on our housing situation.

We note that the city of Cape Town announced two weeks ago that it is selling all its shares in the Cape Town Community Housing Company.

Gary Hartzenberg, Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign Co-ordinator says: “The city is hellbent on running away from its responsibility to the people by privatising this housing company and this will be remembered at election time next year”.

For more info call Gary Hartzenberg on


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.

The city is now decided to dump its responsibilities by privatising the CTCHC.

City to fully privatise embattled Cape Town Community Housing Company

2 09 2008

Press Note: The AEC wishes to alert everyone of the continued privatisation of housing delivery here in Cape Town.  Cape Town Community Housing Company is responsible for the creating a complete mess of all its housing developments including endangering the lives of residents in Newfields Village.  The further privatisation of this company means that it will be even less accountable to the residents of the city.  Because the company will now be allowed to pursue profit without any moral reservations, it will mean increased corruption, higher rents for poor tenants, increased evictions, and the building of even more defective houses.  We also wish to make clear that the national housing crisis is not a technical issue of capacity or service delivery; it is a political choice not to build enough houses for the poor.

For more information, see the below Press Release by the City of Cape Town

For comment on on this issue, contact Gary at .


City sells Cape Town Community Housing Company shares
Press Release by the City of Cape Town

THE City of Cape Town is to sell its shareholding in the Cape Town Community Housing Company for R5 million. The share price was determined in an open tender process. The National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) enjoys first right of refusal to the shares; if it does not take up the offer, the shares will be sold to Daku Calana Investment Holdings which won the tender.

Media enquiries:

Cllr Dan Plato, Tel: or Cell:
Louise Muller, Shareholding Management, Tel:

10 burglaries in 2 days after CT housing company fits flats with plastic window latches

25 08 2008

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Thursday 21 August 2008 at 1:30pm

NEWFIELDS VILLAGE, CAPE TOWN - The community has suffered 10 burglaries in the last two days, and two spaza shop owners who work from home have lost everything.

This after the Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) fitted plastic window latches to new windows and frames they are currently installing in the residents’ homes.

These plastic window latches, which are so pointless that they should not even exist, can be snapped off in a second, noiselessly.

The community is now fearing for their lives.

“People are afraid for their children and are too scared to go to work in case they come home and find all their belongings stolen” said Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign co-ordinator Gary Hartzenberg.

Hartzenberg condemned the company, which is being paid millions to upgrade the houses in the area, yet seems not to be spending the money on the repairs themselves.

The residents told the CTCHC last week that they want proper metal window latches like everyone else in the country has.

But the company ignored them. This after the company removed the old window frames and left the community strewn with broken glass.

CTCHC told residents it was “not their problem” if children cut their feet open.

The CTCHC first made problems for the community several years ago when it advertised its “low income” flats for rentals as low as R250 per month. But after residents moved in, they hiked the rent to R1500 per month.

The substandard houses then started falling apart. After a long struggle and a rent boycott, the CTCHC was forced to fork out millions to repair the houses.

But now they are once again replacing substandard work with more substandard work.

The community appeals to the media to rush to the area and see the plastic latches for themselves.

For more info call Gary on

Newfields Village children at risk after housing company leaves area strewn with hazardous rubble

13 08 2008

Press Alert
Wednesday August 13th 2008 at 3:30pm

HANOVER PARK - The Newfields Village community is angry that their children have been placed at risk by the Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC).

The CTCHC is currently working in the area, having been forced to spend millions of rands on repairing all the faults it created by using substandard material to build the houses of Newfields Village some years ago.

However, the CTCHC is not removing the rubble after they finish working. Window frames and broken glass is strewn all over the community and this is extremely hazardous.

When the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) asked CTCHC Project Manager Mdumiso Jikela to remove the rubble in a meeting this morning, he said that if children cut their feet open, it is not his problem.

“The CTCHC is again taking us, the community, as scrap” said the AEC’s Gary Hartzenberg.

The community is also at risk from the cheap window latches that the CTCHC is installing.

The latches are made of plastic, not metal and in three houses, thieves have already broken in simply by breaking off the latches.

The CTCHC has not learnt its lesson - it used substandard material to build houses for the poor and was then forced, after a long struggle by the community, to repair all the houses. But now it is doing the same thing all over again.

The AEC demands proper window frames and latches in all the houses.

For more information contact Gary Hartzenberg on

Press Release: AEC General Meeting Supports N2 Gateway Communities March

21 07 2008

Event: March for community control over the housing process
Time: 10am
Date: Thursday July 24th, 2008
Location: Assemble in

On the afternoon of Sunday, 20 July more than a dozen local community leaders came together from across the Western Cape for the first Anti-Eviction Campaign General Meeting in more than sixth months. Held at the BSL Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Silvertown, the meeting drew more than sixty delegates from informal settlements as well as public and privately owned housing. Although facing a range of different issues, from the privatization of water to a rash of night-time evictions, delegates resolved to strategise a collective way forward during the months leading up to the April 2009 elections and 2010 World Cup.

From Gugulethu to QQ section, Hout Bay to Hanover Park, delegates expressed their solidarity with the various communities impacted by the N2 Gateway Project who will be marching in Cape Town on the morning of 24 July. This includes the current residents of some 700 N2 Gateway rental flats (otherwise known as Joe Slovo Phase 1 who have been on a rent boycott since mid-2007) the thousands of families of the Joe Slovo informal settlement resisting forced removal to Temporary Relocation Areas in Delft, and the more than 200 families of the Symphony Way settlement living opposite the homes they were evicted from in Delft.

Jointly called by the residents of all three communities, Thursday’s march in the Cape Town CBD will draw attention to the problems caused by the privatization of housing construction through Thubelisha Homes and housing management by Trafalgar Properties. Marchers intend to call upon the Provincial Department of Local Government and Housing to directly see to the region’s grave housing needs. Drawing on the common concerns regarding privatization, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign chairperson Ashraf Cassiem warned that, “The responsibility for housing, something that is usually provided for by the state, has been given to these private companies. They have a bottom line. They don’t care if you don’t have bread to feed your family.”

Delegates also found common cause with each other’s struggles, as they spoke to recent victories and pressing local issues. In particular, those in attendance called attention to the failure to upgrade of informal settlement, the needs of backyard dwellers, and “pink letters” threatening evictions and service disconnections. At one point, the delegates from the Wes Bank community in Delft spoke movingly and sometimes in tears about the problem of night-time evictions from RDP housing in Delft. Several delegates also spoke to the problem of police and councilor corruption in their areas.

In addition to a general discussion forum, Sunday’s meeting also provided and opportunity for communities facing similar problems to learn from each other. Hawkers in Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre took time to speak to those representing informal trades in Gatesville and Gugulethu. Similarly, the general meeting also brought together several delegates from the nine Cape Town Community Housing Company projects.

At the end of the meeting, delegates resolved to take the discussion back to their communities and meet again in two weeks.

For more information, please contact:

Pamela Buekes
Ashraf Cassiem
Gary Hartzenberg

Poor residents again face eviction from poorly built houses

17 07 2008
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Thursday, 17th July, 2008

Hanover Park - In 1994, then president Nelson Mandela promised to build one-million homes. In 2000 the Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC), a private company, was entrusted to help make this promise of Mandela a reality by becoming a housing delivery vehicle for the government. In the process, they build 2,193 houses on a ‘rent to buy’ basis in 9 communities across the Western Cape.

In order to make the houses affordable to the poor, families were requested to save between R150 - R350 per month over a period of six months before moving into their new homes. They claimed that this amount would be equal to their monthly rental.

In the year 2000, when people first moved in to their new houses, the rental quadrupled to an averaged of R800 per month. Because the houses were poorly built with latent as well as patent defects (the walls had already begun cracking), thousands of residents collectively decided to go on a rent boycott to show their dissatisfaction. Immediately, the most vulnerable households (single parent households, pensioners, and disabled poor residents) were subjected to evictions from these houses. Yet, after the mobilisation of the community, residents were able to protect one another from eviction.

Then, in 2007, the NHDRC (together with the Department of Local Government and Housing, the City of Cape Town, and the CTCHC), as a result of the pressure from residents, finally embarked on a remedial programme in order to fix the houses. They promised that afterwards they would engage with the poor residents to find a fair payment solution for that would be affordable for each household.

However, during the course of the remedial programme, we have established that the NHBRC Forensic Audit and Assessment is flawed and full of shortcuts. Because the NHDRC cut corners in order to reduce costs of repairs, the houses are now, after the recent floods, in far worse condition than before. The Anti-Eviction Campaign also recently established that the CTCHC are illegally selling their state-subsidised houses to property agents at an enormous profit. The same house that was supposed to be sold for 44,000 Rand a few years ago are now being sold privately for between 350,000-400,000 Rand against the guidelines of the national housing code. As the CTCHC knows, proper procedure is to sell each house back to the government to be redistributed to poor residents.

And on top of all this, residents in the nine housing sites which CTCHC manages, are once again faced with the threat of evictions from homes that are still falling apart. But Anti-Eviction Campaign residents throughout these areas will continue to struggle until their dream of having a stable and secure home becomes a reality.

For comment, please contact:

Gary - (Newfields Village)
Pathrick - (Luyoloville)
Robert - (Eastridge)

W Cape’s housing crisis hits the big screen

14 07 2008
by Francis Hweshe
July 14 2008 at 05:14PM
Source: Argus

The critical housing question in the province hit the big screen with politicians, activists and beneficiaries heading to the movie house to catch a provocative production focused on the housing crisis in the Western Cape.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi, mayoral committee member for housing Dan Plato and Ashraf Cassiem of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, among others, were part of the audience who watched Shamila’s House on Saturday afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Residents patch up houses as winter looms

10 04 2008

Solidarity from AEC:  The Anti-Eviction Campaign works with a number of communities (such as Newfields in Hanover Park) dealing with the corruption and mismanagement of the Cape Town Community Housing Company.  We post this in solidarity with all residents of council homes in Cape Town.

April 09 2008 at 07:40AM
Source: IOL

With repairs to their homes delayed by several months, some residents of the more than 2 400 faulty houses built by the Cape Town Community Housing Company have expressed their distress at the delay.

On Monday, company executive Fungai Mudimu told the city’s housing portfolio committee that the provincial housing department had agreed to pay the extra costs of repairs to houses in Manenberg, Philippi, Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu.

The costs had shot up from the initial R35-million to more than R90-million.  Sindiswa Mponze, who lives in Luyoloville, said many of her neighbours had refused to pay their rents of between R400 and R800 because of the shoddy construction.

‘There has not been a single winter where rain has not seeped through the roof or the walls’
“I moved into my house in 2001 and there has not been a single winter where rain has not seeped through the roof or the walls.

“How can they demand rent from me when we have to deal with this every winter?” Mponze said as she pointed out several cracks in her living room.

Some residents of Luyoloville, tired of waiting for teams to fix their homes, have attempted repairs with varying degrees of success, most of them by filling cracks with plaster and painting over damp walls.  Rizaan Young, whose Heideveld home was being repaired by an independent contractor, said her first winter in the house seven years ago had shown up the shoddiness of the construction.

“Before the repairs, there were two holes in the living room floor and my windows could not be shut properly as they had become rusted.”

Young said she was happy with the improvements to her house, which had included installing an insulated ceiling and waterproofing the inside and outer walls.  A foreman on the site said repairs included “lifting up” floors that were sagging and cracking.  Sagging ceilings were also being repaired. Waterjets were being used to strip off old paint before applying waterproof paint to walls.

“The main problem that tenants experienced was water penetration, especially during the winter,” said the foreman.

Press Alert: Poor community threatens to sue Eskom after appliances blow from power surges and cuts

18 03 2008
Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign
18 March 2008
CAPE TOWN - The poor and working class community of Newfields Village, near Hanover Park, has experienced most of their appliances like kettles, toasters and TV’s blowing last night. The community believes that Eskom is to blame. Yesterday there was a power cut in the area for 8 hours. Wealthier areas in Cape Town did not experience power cuts. Soon after, the power suddenly came back on and then all the appliances blew out.
For more information call Gary Hartzenberg on