Western Cape Human Settlements’ on Land Invasions and Housing
Du Noon, Vrygrond, Hermanus, Mitchells Plain, Parkwood, Ocean View, Gugulethu, Gansbaai – these are some of the areas affected by protests for land and housing in the past 4 months alone. The violence, destruction of property, and looting associated with these protests is condemned in the strongest terms, and will also cost this province millions.
The Department had a two-day session with all 25 municipalities in the province to discuss the recent protest actions and came up with proactive steps to deal with the protests. This excludes the district municipalities who do not have a mandate linked to housing. Amongst other things, the session dealt with the cause of protest actions and illegal land invasion. We noted during this session that municipalities do not always allocate housing opportunities in line with the housing demand database. Whilst it is important to allocate per the demand database, on a first-come first-serve basis, municipalities also need to ensure that the most vulnerable beneficiaries gets prioritized. It is therefore important for municipalities to align their business plans with the database.
While we respect and uphold the right of individuals and communities to protest, and acknowledge the plight of those in need of adequate housing, invading land is not going to assist us in resolving genuine issues and will, in fact, impede (hamper) and prolong our ability to deliver and assist the most vulnerable citizens of this Province.
As the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, we cannot prioritise land invaders over those who have been registered on the Western Cape Housing Demand Database for many years. Prioritising certain projects due to protest action will mean that other existing and planned projects are delayed as a result.
Every vacant piece of land seen does not necessarily belong to this Province. Some land is privately owned and quite often, not all land is earmarked or suitable for human settlement. Illegal land invaders often have to deal with the many health and safety risks of settling on unsuitable land. In addition, these land grabs are followed by demands for services which impede on planned projects to assist Western Cape residents.
The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements does not condone any invasions or illegal activity regarding land and housing, and these acts will be dealt with to the full extent in terms of the law. That said - my Department remains committed to the path we have set forth for this Province and serving the residents of the Western Cape. We remain resolute to the housing agenda and continuing work on our three strategic priorities:
- Directing more resources to the Upgrading of Informal Settlements
- Increase Affordable / Gap housing opportunities;
- Prioritising the most vulnerable i.e. elderly, disabled, child-headed households.
Since 2009, this Department has delivered title deeds to over 91 000 people and delivered over 160 000 housing opportunities. And this within the constraints of a limited budget, that has been further cut by a R1 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
The housing backlog within this province is in excess of 575 000, the Department of Human Settlements can only deliver approximately 18 000 housing opportunities per year across the various housing programmes i.e BNG, FLISP, Social Housing etc. Furthermore, the Department’s reduced budget over the MTEF period places further strain on our ability to deliver to the citizens of this Province. It is for this reason that we have embarked on our three (3) strategic focus areas and continue to innovate and find creative ways to stretch our Rand. The Department of Human Settlements identified Catalytic and Provincial Priority Projects for rigorous implementation. These projects serve to deliver integrated housing opportunities in high growth areas, with access to necessary public facilities such as transport, schools, safety and security.
Our Catalytic Projects include:
- Trans Hex in Worcester, set to deliver 8 873 opportunities
- Vlakkeland in Paarl will deliver 2 653
- Thembalethu in George at 4 350 housing opportunities
- Syferfontein in George - 5 814
- Wilderness Heights in George with 117 opportunities
- Belhar DBD in the City of Cape Town with 4 188 opportunities, and
- The Southern Corridor City of Cape Town with 51 540 opportunities.
The Southern Corridor includes various projects namely: N2 Gateway, Ithemba Farms, Penhill Farms, Kosovo, Forest Village, Thabo Mbeki, and Airport Precinct which consists of informal settlements situated between Gugulethu and Nyanga such as Kanana, Barcelona, Gxa Gxa, Europe, and Vukuzenzela.
Provincial Priority Projects and their estimated yield of housing opportunities include:
- Conradie Hospital Site with 3 605 opportunities in the City of Cape Town
- Dal Josafat with 2 078 opportunities in the Drakenstein municipal area
- Vredebest, Bella Vista, with 3 417 opportunities for Breede Valley
- Grabouw with 8 169 opportunities for the Theewaterskloof municipal area
- Louis Fourie in Mossel Bay with 4000 opportunities
- Vredenburg Urban Regeneration in Saldhana Bay with 1 400 opportunities
- De Novo in Stellenbosch municipal area with 300 opportunities
These projects are at various stages of planning, development and delivery.
The Department has also enhanced its land release programme and made a number of land parcels available for development. We have availed 16 pieces of land constituting 133 hectares with a potential total yield of 9 951 housing opportunities which include FLISP, Social housing, Military Veterans, BNGs and open market.
Any deviation or response to illegal land invasions will certainly hamper delivery of these projects, meant to serve the people of this Province.
We encourage individuals and communities with concerns to meaningfully engage authorities and work with government to find solutions to challenges within our Province. Violence and lawlessness simply cannot be condoned and does not serve any of us.
The Department urges all citizens who need housing assistance from government, to register at their local housing office. Citizens that are already registered are encouraged to ensure that their information is up to date at the local housing office, particularly if contact information has changed since registration.
This Province belongs to ALL who live in it. Like it or not – we are one nation with the ability to build cities and towns where families thrive in safe and productive environments.
We can only achieve this if we work together.
Mrs Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka
Spokesperson for Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela
Tel: 021 483 4798
Cell: 082 953 0026
Mr Nathan Adriaanse
Director: Communication and Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 021 483 2868
Cell: 083 263 1720