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30 years post democracy and the housing crisis worsens in Cape Town

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By Loushe Jordaan Gilbert

There are thousands of people on the Cape Flats who are on the housing waiting list, some for more than 30 years with absolutely no guarantee that they will receive a home to call their own.

Speaking to VOC News, residents across the City of Cape Town (COCT) shared some of their stories.

“I have applied with the RDP houses and council homes, but nothing comes of it, they always have an excuse, but they never address the backlog they keep speaking about.”

“I have been on the waiting list for more than 30 years, I have been everywhere, constantly upgrading my paperwork, but I am still without a home.”

“I recently went to the housing office in Town, and they confirmed that I have no record of being on a waiting list, which to me is not right because I applied so long ago. Who is responsible for this, how many people applied and are not actually registered on the system.”

Speaking to a Hanover Park resident, she said she does not understand how the COCT continues to say that they have no vacant land available to house people, when homes in her area have been vacant for years, which attracts criminal elements.

“Hulle bly sê daar is nie plek nie but hier is so baie huise wat niemand in bly nie, die criminals vat oor en ons bare die consequences daarvan.” (SIC)

Another resident who is currently on the waiting list said for more than 30 years she has been living in dire circumstances, with no end in sight.

“I have been living in a Wendy house for 30 years, I have no toilet, no water, and no electricity. The COCT is not doing anything for us, they treat us like nothing,” she added.

With many left homeless, forced to erect illegal structures across the Cape Flats, a resident expressed her views around the implications this has on communities.

“The consequences of shacks are bad for others in the community. In my case my son is suffering because our children do not get space at schools, but for some reason all those who live in shacks, their children get placed without hassle,” She expressed.

Community activist Joanie Fredericks said change will only happen when the city and local government takes accountability.

“The illegal erection of shacks and structures in South Africa is in a crisis, it stems from our leaders not doing what they promised. Every citizen has the right to a safe and proper home, yet here we are still seeing people living in dire conditions, it is just horrible. We cannot blame people for going about getting a home the illegal way, people are just trying to survive,” she stressed.

Another resident said the housing issues will never be improved due to corruption within South Africa.

“The funds that should be used for the people always ends up being stolen, but no one is being held accountable. Our country is deteriorating but the government fails to see this,” she added.

When asked if the City of Cape Town will ever see all South Africans Housed, Carl Pophaim, Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements shared the following.

“In the previous financial year, we spent 99% of the human settlements budget. It shows you we are spending almost all the budget. However, the national allocation for human settlements and housing is not sufficient to meet the demand. The reality is that the State is not able to provide enough of a subsidy, land, or budget for the development of more affordable housing. This means all municipalities must consider out of the box interventions and other levers to enable more affordable housing,” he said.

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