The City of Cape Town is facing major challenges in trying to address the housing backlog and this requires a progressive and innovative approach to housing provision and allocation.
Everyone wants a house and wants to be assured that, when it is their turn, they will not be denied occupation and this imposes a responsibility on the City's Housing Directorate to develop a fair and equitable system of house allocation. The City, in this and all other respects, is committed to fairness, equity and public accountability.
Not surprisingly, because demand substantially exceeds supply, housing allocations are always a subject of emotional debate and the City administers the allocation process through its integrated housing database that contains the details of approximately 300 000 registered applicants for housing opportunities.
While the City has approximately 300 000 registered applicants on its waiting list for houses, it estimates that the total demand for housing is of the order of 400 000 houses because there are more than 100 000 people living in informal settlements who are not registered on the housing database, but remain part of the City's total housing demand.
This integrated housing database contains the applicant's and spouse's personal details, identity numbers, marital status, current address and employment details etc.
The term 'housing database' must not be confused with 'project lists'.
'Project lists' are area subsets of the housing database extracted according to predetermined selection criteria for a specific project. From this project list the beneficiaries are selected according to the national housing subsidy qualification criteria and in strict date order.
There are also 'final beneficiary lists' generated by the Provincial Housing Department's Subsidy Section when they approve beneficiaries for a specific housing subsidy project.
The term 'registration' means that the person is registered on the City's housing database and each applicant has been issued with a registration number. This does not necessarily mean that they are on either a project list or final beneficiary list or even qualify for housing in terms of the national housing policy subsidy schemes.
The length of time applicants are on the housing database is partly dependent on the applicant's choice of where they wish to be accommodated. For example, if an applicant wants a house in a sought-after, built-up area such as Athlone, Grassy Park or the Bo-Kaap, it will take them much longer for them to be accommodated.
In terms of the City's housing allocation policy adopted in 2004, no person, community organisation or councillor is permitted to be involved in submitting names for a project or removing names from a project or beneficiary list.
In terms of transparency:-
* The City has a website where interested persons can enter their name and identity number and the system will confirm whether they are on the housing database with their registration number and application date. The web address is http://www.capetown.gov.za/housinglookup/.
* In November 2007 the City introduced a dedicated e-mail address called firstname.lastname@example.org which is directed to the housing database administrator to answer any housing database related queries. This facility has been well used.
* Also in Nov 2007 the City introduced an SMS facility where it can easily contact applicants who do not have fixed addresses but who have cellphones, e.g. those applicants living in informal settlements.
It is important to differentiate between City housing projects and those administered at provincial or national government level.
The N2 Gateway project is a National/Provincial housing project. It is not a City housing project.
Thubelisha Homes, a company that has featured prominently in recent media reports, is an independent company which was contracted by the Department of National Housing and the Provincial Department of Local Government and Housing to be its managing agent for the development of the N2 project.
Thubelisha Homes does not work for the City and does not have the final say in the allocation of houses on the N2 project. The allocation of housing on this project is managed by a committee comprised of national, provincial and City housing officials and is done strictly in accordance with the land availability agreement.
In March 2007 the City entered into a land availability agreement with the Province whereby the City made certain parcels of land available. This agreement makes provision for the allocation criteria for the various areas of the N2 project.
The purpose of the N2 project is partly to provide emergency housing to flood and fire victims from a number of informal settlements like Joe Slovo as well as to clear the shacks along the N2 freeway
Peoples Housing Process [PHP] projects are usually implemented in areas where there are established informal communities. It must be stressed that, in such projects, should re-location be required, the housing allocation will again be in strict date order, based on the date of their arrival in the settlement.
19 MARCH 2008
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400 3719
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: HOUSING
TEL: 021 400 2873 CELL: 084 443 1000