The City of Cape Town's R300 million plan to upgrade rental houses in Cape Town is off to a good start.
Over 7 700 flats in Manenberg, Scottsdene, Scottsville, Connaught, Uitsig, Woodlands, Heideveld, Hanover Park, Kewtown and Ottery have been earmarked for the first phase of the refurbishments.
The city's Manager of Existing Settlement, Grace Blouw said the refurbishment will take place according to the needs of each area, including general renovations to buildings, roofs and plumbing systems and the installation of new ceilings, floor coverings, cupboards and geysers where necessary.
"Fencing, refuse management, area lighting, greening of areas and recreational facilities will also receive attention," she said.
According to Mayoral Committee Member for Housing, Councillor Dan Plato the city's ageing housing stock has needed increasing maintenance in recent years.
"There is water penetration in walls and floors and plumbing and rainwater disposal systems no longer work properly," he said, adding that the programme was a catalyst to developing strong communities and improving the quality of life for the poor.
The project, which forms part of the national Community Residential Units (CRU) upgrade programme funded by the municipality's annual housing subsidy allocation, will address the major maintenance of the city's rental properties across the city.
Phase one of the project is scheduled for completion in June 2011.
Project steering committees are to be established in Connaught, Uitsig, Scottsdene, Scottsville, Hanover Park, Kewtown and The Range. Local Ward Councillors and representatives of beneficiaries will be expected to serve on these committees to ensure that community issues are addressed and community liaison officers are facilitating the process.
Meanwhile, project consultants are arranging structural assessments of the buildings, as well as surveys to determine the specific maintenance needs. Once this is completed, construction work is scheduled to start mid-2009.
"While work will be carried out with the minimum of inconvenience to tenants, some activities may require dwellings to be vacated," said Ms Blouw, adding that arrangements for alternative accommodation, storage of furniture and security will be provided and tenants with special needs will also receive attention.
She said all tenants will be fully consulted in order to identify the best approach
"No irregular rental increases are planned. However, the national policy stipulates that upgraded units cannot be sold afterwards. The city will also strictly apply its credit control policies. Tenants who cannot pay are urged to apply for a rebate under Council's housing indigent policy," says Blouw. - BuaNews