Gateway housing project in a shambles

23 11 2008
Bobby Jordan
Published:Nov 23, 2008
Source: The Times

Only five families out of an estimated 20000 shack dwellers from one of South Africa’s poorest settlements have been accommodated at the state’s flagship housing development built on their doorstep.

Meant to showcase the country’s progressive housing policy promoting racially integrated cities, phase one of the N2 Gateway project next to the Joe Slovo shack settlement in Cape Town is instead a monument to a losing battle against the national housing backlog.


EMPTY PROMISES: The N2 Gateway project in Cape Town has not delivered what it promised for thousands of shack dwellers Picture: ALON SKUY

More than 1000 families from Joe Slovo have been relocated to make way for the housing project, which to date consists of only 704 state rental apartments costing R600 to R1050 a month and about 3500 free houses 10km away in Delft on the outskirts of the city. This despite the government’s promise of 20000 free state Gateway houses by 2006.

The relocated shack dwellers now live in the new Delft houses or in under-serviced “temporary relocation areas”.

The remaining shack dwellers — about 3000 families — are challenging a High Court ruling ordering them to move to Delft so more free houses can be built where their shacks stand.

Construction of “bond market” houses has already begun for people earning between R3500 to R10000 a month next to Joe Slovo settlement.

Shack dwellers say they are being forced off their land without any guarantee of getting a new house. Read the rest of this entry »

Secret Joe Slovo rezoning plans

13 07 2008
Source: Mail & Guardian

Western Cape housing minister Richard Dyantyi has applied to rezone land occupied by the Joe Slovo informal settlement, even as the Constitutional Court prepares to hear a plea from residents to set aside their court-ordered eviction. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Housing runs out of land’

12 05 2008

Source: The Times

Housing delivery has ground to a halt in certain parts of South Africa — all because of a bitter tug-of-war over municipal land.

Despite a massive housing backlog of more than two million units, municipalities are holding on to millions of hectares of prime commonage land — which is supposed to be used to assist local residents — or have already sold it to private developers despite a countrywide moratorium on such land sales, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has told Business Times in an exclusive interview.

Sisulu said that tens of thousands of hectares suitable for affordable housing may have been lost this way, a problem caused largely by a combination of soaring land values and dwindling council revenues. And in many cases the municipalities are selling the land under dubious circumstances.

Huge tracts of land in rural municipalities are also lying idle due to unresolved land claims, she said.

The situation has prompted urgent talks between the departments of housing, land affairs, public works and the Treasury, with several key legislative changes in the pipeline to stop the municipal land grab — and to bring maverick officials into line. “Somehow the state has tied itself up into so many binds that it is unable to move with the speed with which it should move,” Sisulu said.

Commonage land was granted to municipalities decades ago free of charge subject to stringent title-deed conditions for use for local residents.

In a frank appraisal of national housing delivery, Sisulu listed several other major obstacles which include:

# There is still no complete public land asset register, which means the three spheres of government do not know how much land they have and may be available for housing or land reform;

# Housing costs have rocketed due to the high price of cement and steel caused by the ongoing construction of the country’s 2010 World Cup soccer stadiums;

# Massive areas of municipal commonage in Limpopo are tied up in land claims now before the Land Claims Commission; and

# Parastatals such as Transnet are sitting on vast tracts of land that cannot be transferred to the housing department because of legal complications.

Read the rest of this entry »

Province ‘to hold R300m’ from Gateway

17 04 2008

AEC Comment: Yet another instance of corruption and mismanagement by goverment. This could easily have been avoided with government officials were willing to consult with Joe Slovo residents and respected their rights as human beings to live where they have been for over 15 years.

Province ‘to hold R300m’ from Gateway

By Andisiwe Makinana

April 16 2008 at 02:24PM
Source: IOL

The Western Cape provincial treasury is withholding at least R300-million meant for the N2 Gateway Housing Project until the ongoing problems engulfing it are resolved. Read the rest of this entry »

#2 - Pavement children speak from the heart and urge compassion from Lindiwe Sisulu

25 03 2008

Attached you will find a second batch of Letters from the Delft children who are living on the pavement of Symphony Way. Representatives from Delft Symphony are planning to hand over the children’s 42 letters at a meeting with provincial housing officials.  For the first batch, please see the previous article here.

The second batch can be found here:

Also attached, you will find a letter from one of the adult pavement dwellers. She was inspired to write her letter by 8 year old Nikita who was the first child to write a letter to Lindiwe Sisulu.

Delft Update: Pavement children speak from the heart and urge compassion from Lindiwe Sisulu

23 03 2008

Monday, 24 March, 2008 (Easter)

A few days ago, Nikita McQuena, 8 year old child decided she was tired of the South African government ignoring her parents and the other adults living on the pavement of Symphony Way in Delft. Nikita, a fiery little girl who speaks isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English, is not quite sure which racial category she might fit under and brushes aside the inciting racism of party politics. She thought that if the government, the media, and wealthy South Africans refused to listen to the pleas of poor adults, maybe they would be moved by her words and those of the other children living on the Delft Symphony pavement.

Nikita says that she does not care for political parties such as the ANC and DA who continually promise to give her parents a house during election time, but never fulfill these promises. She says that her mother has been waiting patiently on the wait-list for over 15 years. However, she has trouble understanding how a few elite South African can drive fancy cars, have holiday homes, and travel all over the world, while the rest of South Africa struggles to put food on the table or a roof over their heads.

In the first page of the document below, you will find Nikita’s letter to the Minister of Housing, Lindiwe Sisulu. After writing this letter, Nikita - who is on a personal mission to appeal to the heart of government bureaucracy - organised over 30 other children and helped them write their own personal letters to Sisulu.

It is a tragedy children of this age, instead of enjoying their childhood, have to constantly worry about things like housing, food and education - all human rights guaranteed in South Africa’s constitution. But, at the same time, its heartening to see children of all ages demanding their rights. If Nikita is any indication of South Africa’s future, then we can have hope that the oppression of the poor will one day be abolished.

For more information, please contact Ashraf at or Auntie Jane at

Nikita McQuena speaking to Delft Residents

Nikita McQuena speaking to Delft Residents