Minister Simmers engages backyarders at housing summit
Today, Western Cape Human Settlements Minister, Tertuis Simmers addressed backyard dwellers at the Western Cape Housing Summit. This summit was called for by the South African Human Rights Commission and held at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town.
Minister Simmers said: “I commend the Human Rights Commission for creating a platform where concerned backyarders could raise their housing related issues. I welcome today’s engagement, as it allowed us to have frank discussions. I took the opportunity to remind all those present that at the end of June 2019, I issued an executive directive to all Municipalities in the province, to include backyarders in their housing allocation criteria.
This means, whenever we identify beneficiaries from the housing waiting lists, for all our Greenfield projects, backyarders must be prioritised, as we will work on a 50/50 split within the other criteria. It is important that backyard dwellers are registered on the housing database.
In addition to this, and to assist in ensuring that our housing waiting lists across municipalities are accurate, we will, during October and November embark on a weekend registration and verification drive.
Correspondence will also be sent to the National Minister of Human Settlements Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, to express my disappointment that she did not attend today’s summit, particularly since there was an indication that she would. Furthermore, to also propose that a specific grant for backyarders be established, particularly since my Department have formally prioritised backyard dwellers.
As many of the issues that were highlighted, such as the water and electricity bills, relates to the City of Cape Town, I will draft a comprehensive letter to Mayor Dan Plato and MAYCO-members Malusi Booi, Xanthea Limberg, and Phindile Maxiti. I’ve committed to visiting the areas, which today’s delegates represented and will, wherever possible, ensure that these officials accompany me to these engagements.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.”