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)