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Hangberg homes not big enough: residents

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Even though they were promised new homes, some Hangberg residents say what they’re getting is not the dream the City of Cape Town sold to them. The City on Tuesday announced that its CRU [Community Rental Units] had passed the halfway mark in their construction. In a press release , the City said the R34m construction that would house 71 units would be complete by the end of 2015.

But mother of three, Marlene Williams, says the two-bedroom flat that will be given to her will not be sufficient.

“I have three young girls, a grandchild and another on the way, and they all live with me. In that small space where am I supposed to place all my children? They have an open plan kitchen, and two bedrooms and a bathroom, but those rooms are so small all I would be able to get in there is a bed and a small cupboard if we want to live comfortably,” she said.

Another mother, Lizette Solomons, says she and her family have been living in dire conditions for too long for her not to take up the opportunity to move into a new home. But she believes for the small improvements in living condition she will receive, the amount of space available is not enough.

“Altogether there are six of us in our family, where we live now it is big enough for all of us. But even though it’s enough space, we suffer because of amenities, we have electricity and water, but it gets cut off so frequently. We don’t even have a toilet. Why would we not move, even if it is small?”

But she says they were not informed of the apartments’ size before they signed on to take up residence on the complex facing the Hout Bay harbor.
“When we signed on we thought it would be large enough spaces, we didn’t know it would be this small.”

The housing project was the culmination of year long negotiations between the City and Hangberg community activists, after violent clashes during 2010 between residents and law enforcement. The informal homes of

Hangberg residents living on a firebreak on the Sentinel mountain were dismantled by authorities in September 2010. The conflict brought to the fore the need for proper housing and services for Hangberg’s impoverished residents.

The development, which includes sea-fronting sections, consists of three blocks of flats. The City said the rental units are in close proximity to employment opportunities, key transport routes, social amenities and schools within the existing surrounding area.

VOC News attempted to confirm the size of the apartment block in the Hangberg area known as ‘Texas’, but journalists were stopped by construction security. VOC

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