Housing project ‘on track’

Units of the Morningstar Housing Development which is on track to completion.

The City of Cape Town has denied claims that it’s falling behind schedule on the Morningstar housing development, saying the project is on track and will be finished on time next month.

This comes after the City’s new housing programme manager, Duke Gumede, requested it be delayed because of the community’s interference, following a public meeting in April.

But Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, denied community interference had delayed the project.

“There is no delay in the handover to beneficiaries. The contractor is still on site finalising snags,” he said.

“The community did not interfere as is alleged. The demand and need for housing in Cape Town is a serious challenge, and it goes without saying that the communities who stand to benefit from any new housing development would want to be more informed and be part of the process.

“We do not see this as interference but rather as ongoing engagement.”

The City has spent about
R34 million on the 166-unit development, which is set to benefit 664 people, on the housing waiting list.

Construction has been happening for more than a year.

Mayor Patricia de Lille was at the sod-turning ceremony in February 2017.

Zane Williams, chairman of the Morningstar Development and Upliftment Initiative (MDUI), said the community had not interfered with the project but wanted due process to be followed in the way houses were allocated.

“We have no problem with the project as long as the list reflects the greater community of Morningstar,” he said (“Morningstar housing needs not met,” Northern News, November 23, 2017).

“We’re waiting for a revised list of beneficiaries from the City because the majority of them are from external areas.

“All we’re saying is for them to prioritise the community of Morningstar who have been on the waiting list for more than 20 years.”

According to the City, beneficiaries were chosen in line with the City’s housing allocation policy, with 132 Morningstar residents having been approved as beneficiaries. (“Morningstar Gets RDP housing,” Northern News, March 2, 2017).

The project will have 152 double-storey and 14 single-storey houses and beneficiaries must be first-time homeowners earning less than R3 500 a month.

The City surveyed social and economic conditions in the area to understand the housing need in Morningstar.

But Mr Williams doesn’t believe that was enough.

“We want the City to do a consultative process, involve the community in this project. It can’t just make huge decisions without properly engaging the community,” he said.

The City elected a project steering committee and held public meetings with the Morningstar community.

Mr Williams said while they supported the project, they would not hesitate to hold the City accountable.

“Everything seems to be going on track at the moment; we have no problem with the project, as long as it reflects the needs of the community.

“If the beneficiary list doesn’t show that, there will be a court process,” he said.

Mr Herron, said the project steering committee had met earlier this month and was confident the hand-overs to beneficiaries would be finalised in the next few weeks.