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Residents bemoan Council flats upgrade

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The City of Cape Town says the completion of the community residential unit refurbishment programme in Hanover Park completed six months ahead of time is a breakthrough.

The refurbished units form part of the Hanover Park A Upgrade project and it has been completed six months ahead of schedule. The Hanover Park area comprises 28 three-storey twin block courts with a total of 1 680 rental units. However, the city council has been encountering some issues, with tenants stating that the upgrades have been more of a downgrade than a upgrade.

Many of those residing in the rental units across the cty say authorities has not been in consultation with them, regarding the manner in which the upgrades will take place or what exactly will be upgraded.

Some community members are saying that the upgrades are a waste pointing out that residents never wanted upgrades as they have over the years done some renovations themselves.

Ebrahim Abrahams, who represents a stakeholders’ forum and the Community Policing Forum (CPF) in Hanover Park, said that the refurbishment has been completed in record time but highlights that there are so many defects.

“Those who has renovated and refurbished their own flat has now been downgraded due to the fact that certain facilities which they installed themselves has now been removed such as showers, in which case it would be a downgrade,” added Abrahams.

Others would see upgrades which they cannot afford such as geysers, explained Abrahams. He also highlights that some of these residents’ electrical points has been removed or moved around making it difficult for them to adjust.

He says that they are also replying tiles with cheap vinyl flooring which results in attracting dirt at a faster pace.

However, the City said it had also focussed on maintaining open communication channels with tenants and the broader community.

“We have ensured that the community has been involved every step of the way. We have furthermore emphasised quality and safety. We have made progress possible, together,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.

Most of the City’s rental blocks of flats are more than 30 years old. Quality is therefore always a top priority when it comes to the CRU upgrades. Each rental unit has to pass several stringent quality checks before various levels of contractual completion are certified. Even after the families take occupation, the Community Liaison Officer visits each home to list any complaints residents may have.

“These complaints are then forwarded to the relevant authority for remedial action. A tenants’ opinion poll is also conducted on completion of each block,” said Mamkeli.
VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)

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