The Salt River housing project faces more controversy after being halted by the DA-led municipality.
Former Mayoral Committee member for Transport and Urban Development, Brett Herron, last month announced his resignation at the Salt River Market, stating that the halting of the project was “the final straw” for him.
The Foundation for Community Development (FCD) has however welcomed the move, raising concerns around alleged irregularities at the non-profit organisation, Communicare.
Spokesperson for FCD, Neville Petersen said that Communicare has given false pretences to the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government.
“They have applied for the land and property under the name of Communicare which is a non-profit organisation (NGO) but they will be transferring all their stocks and lease agreements to a private company called Good Find Properties and we find this irregular and unethical. The politicians, premier and mayor are covering up but yet are transferring the stocks of property and land to Communicare under false pretences,” Petersen said.
Petersen said that various steps were taken to address the irregularities at Communicare but to no avail.
“We’ve led several marches to the Provincial Legislature and submitted several petitions to them. We have also sought meetings with the premier of the Western Cape and the mayor’s office. We have not received a response, and this is very disappointing, and we will be seeking legal action against the City and Communicare for bringing the public and these entities under false pretences,” he said.
Petersen said that FCD is asking the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government to conduct a forensic audit on Communicare and on the CEO of Communicare. FCD hopes that the investigation will bring to light all the irregularities that have been highlighted over the past few months.
Petersen mentioned that there are various obstacles along the way, stalling their process.
“Because of the conflict within the province, the City and the DA, our actions have been stalled and interrupted. Factors including the new mayor and the election of new officials have damaged our process.”
When discussing the irregularities at Communicare, Petersen said that the current CEO of Communicare appointed herself as CEO of the company, Good Find Properties, which was established by Communicare, as a private entity.
“We are quite perturbed at the manner in which the Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town is dealing with this as they are aware of it but are allowing these irregularities to take place,” said Petersen.
Petersen stated that FCD has evidence of the irregularities, but their presentation is being stalled by the premier and mayor’s lack of response.
Petersen further added that FCD is not interested in meeting with Communicare CEO, Anthea Houston as she is part of the problem.
“We want to meet with the funding stakeholders because at the end of the day, she (Houston) is answerable to funders and the public at large.”
According to Petersen, people who are currently staying in social housing are also experiencing various problems.
“They are enforcing a unilateral change to the lease agreements of tenants without any consultations. They have implemented high rental costs with an increase between 16% and 24%, which is not affordable. They have installed water meters, enforced R150.00 electricity levies and have asked tenants to pay for parking.”
“They (Communicare) are not adherent nor sympathetic towards tenants who cannot afford these changes. This is a social housing project and not a private estate agency, which Anthea Houston is trying to propagate.”
Communicare CEO, Anthea Houston was contacted for comment but did not respond by time of publishing.
By: Zaahidah Meyer