Today, the community of Bergsig in Calitzdorp, received an update from the Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers, regarding the Bergsig Housing Development project. This project, which forms part of the Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) was approved in the 2010/11 financial year. It was envisaged that the project would deliver 692 housing opportunities across three phases. To date 501 houses have been handed over.
This meeting occurred after various requests were received from both the Kannaland Municipality and the residents for a public engagement to address a host of concerns and accusations.
The following was reported to the community during the engagement:
1. Following allegations that the Kannaland Municipality allocated units to incorrect beneficiaries in phase 1 – the Department investigated the matter and found that from the original list of 186 beneficiaries only 24 names appeared on the final list of the beneficiaries that were ultimately received houses.
2. Subsequent to the outcome of the above investigation, discussions were held with the Municipality and the Implementing Agent appointed to implement the project and the Implementing Agent has since confirmed that:
a. As part of phase 1, 250 top structures were completed during the 2012/13 financial year. The WCDoHS’ initial investigation confirmed that houses were incorrectly allocated to beneficiaries who were not approved on Housing Subsidy System (HSS). The Implementing Agent has confirmed that 241 out of the 250 houses in Phase 1 have been transferred and processes have been initiated to conclude the outstanding transfers. The Implementing Agent has further confirmed that the regularisation of the people that were allocated houses irregularly in phase 1, have since been regularised on the HSS system. This excludes 8 who were allocated houses in phase 1 without any subsidy approvals against their names.
b. Phase 2 comprising of 251 houses was completed during the 2015/16 financial year. It has been confirmed that 249 houses were transferred to beneficiaries and all the beneficiaries that were irregularly excluded in phase 1 were accommodated in this phase.
c. Based on the above information – it seems all the beneficiaries that were adversely impacted by the irregular allocation of houses by the Kannaland Municipality in phase 1 were assisted in phase 2.
d. Following the completion of phases 1 & 2 comprising of 501 housing opportunities – approval was granted for construction of 179 top structures in 2018. However and given the irregularities with the allocation of houses in phase 1, the WCDoHS informed the Kannaland Municipality that no further top structure maybe constructed until a full reconciliation in respect of the irregularities is concluded.
e. Current Status is that there are 191 serviced sites in the last phase of the Bersig project. The Implementing Agent has been requested to furnish the Department with the full list of beneficiaries in phases 1 & 2 and on receipt the Department will do reconciliation against the HSS.
Given all these irregularities, the following will be actioned:
- The Municipality and the Implementing Agent to forward the full list of beneficiaries that were allocated houses in phases 1 and 2 with erf numbers and confirmation of transfers.
- The WCDoHS to urgently compare the list with information on the HSS.
- On completion and confirmation of ( b ) above, the WCDoHS to confirm whether the Kannaland Municipality is allowed to proceed with the construction of the 179 houses as per the 2018 resolution in line with the allocation guidelines.
- Should the figures as presented not tally the WCDoHS would have to revert to the initial recommendation of door to door verification to ensure everyone that was supposed to be assisted in phase 1 is accommodated in the last phase.
Minister Simmers said: “I’d like to thank the residents for affording me the opportunity to address them on this pertinent matter. As difficult as it was, it was critical to provide factual information around this project, so that all inaccuracies could be nullified. Residents across the Western Cape should be aware that our allocation criteria is clear. As a reminder we prioritise the those that are 60 years and older, persons living with medically certified disabilities, those that are on the waiting list for 15 years and longer and backyard dwellers. In rural communities, farm workers also from part of this criteria.
We want to ensure that qualifying and deserving beneficiaries receive their homes and the final phase where 179 houses are to be built and can only commence once all matters have been resolved. As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and liveable human settlements”.