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Mixed feelings over housing

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Mixed feelings over housing

by Shahista Rohan-Toefy
26 Jun 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

MORE than 230 houses valued at R40000 each are in the process of being built in Kewtown off Statice Avenue in Athlone, as part of a housing project launched on Thursday.

Provincial government stepped up to the challenge of building homes in the area after concerns were raised by the Athlone community at an imbizo held in Athlone on 10 April.

One of the major concerns raised was the issue of homelessness, and that provision be made for the community to be part of the building process.

Premier Ebrahim Rasool will be facilitating the completion of the project, along with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Rasool said government has identified the area between the N2 and Klipfontein Road to Vanguard Road as the target area for improvement.

According to Richard Dyantyi, the MEC of Housing, people had complained that they were struggling and that government should help them. "We listened and we are doing something about it."

But the initiative was met with mixed emotions when some people did not qualify for it.

Of the estimated 600 applicants, only 236 were approved for a fully subsidised 40m2 house.

The balance said they were unhappy about not having met the criteria. To have qualified, applicants' gross salaries could not exceed R3 500; the applicant could not have received a prior subsidy; and he or she had to occupy the building personally.

The beneficiaries have been divided as follows: 100 families from Kewtown, 100 families from Bokmakierie and 36 families from Belgravia.

Rasool said he was grateful that the role-players "kept their promi?ses" and saw to it that the project "got off the ground".

He said the process would require communities to sweat for their houses irrespective of their colour and race - this was said in response to accusations that government only helped black people.

Beneficiaries will apparently not be allowed to sell their properties for eight years to ensure that hou?ses won?t be used to make a "quick profit".

Rasool added that he understood that many people are living in terrible conditions: "Not having their own tap, toilet and basic facilities makes people desperate to get their own homes."

According to Rasool, the provincial housing budget in 2004 was R447 million and is now R1,2 billion. This, he said, clearly illustrates government's dedication to eradicating the estimated backlog of 410 000 houses. The last beneficiary is set to move in by Christmas.

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