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MEC to step into Newfields housing fray

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MEC to step into Newfields housing fray

by Laverne de Vries
14 Feb 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Housing problems for residents of Newfields Village appear to be one step closer to being solved with the news that MEC for Housing Richard Dyanti is set to make recommendations about their concerns.

Dyanti is slated to review a report by the National Home Builders' Regulatory Council (NHBRC) today (Tuesday, 6 February) after the council was mandated by national government to conduct an audit of the area.

According to Gary Hartzenberg, the Newfields Village Representative Committee spokesperson, the audit probed problem areas in the low-cost housing scheme, including foundations, floors and stairs.

The NHBRC was also requested to check whether the Cape Town Housing Company (CTHC) followed the plans when building the houses.

"The audit has been finalised and the NHBRC will pass the report on to Dyanti, who will decide what the next step is in addressing our concerns," Hartzenberg told a residents' meeting on Thursday, 1 February.

The low-cost housing scheme, situated between Newfields and Hanover Park, has been plagued with troubles since it was built in 2001. Hartzenberg explained that the community had been dissatisfied with "inadequate housing" from the outset, with complaints that the foundations were not solid and that the walls were cracked and damp.

Matters became worse when the community decided to not pay rent but put the money into a trust fund set up by an Athlone-based lawyer until their concerns were addressed.

The attorney, who has since been disbarred from the Cape Law Society, is alleged to have fled the country with more than R2 million of the residents' money. Hartzenberg hopes that the NHBRC audit will improve the situation considerably.

"The NHBRC has given us their word that we will be allowed to see the reports by Thursday, 1 March. Individual reports will be available on the Internet."

A perturbed resident who attended the meeting requested that individual audit reports be posted. "We also want to know where we stand with arrears. Are they going to scrap these or will we still pay arrears and the total cost of the houses?"

Hartzenberg promised to forward their concerns to both the housing department, as well as the CTHC.

"What we do know for now is that Dyanti will make recommendations on how to fix the problem areas and what to do about the issue of arrears," he told People's Post afterwards.

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