Cape Town housing crisis reaches new heights

Cape Town housing crisis reaches new heights

Cape Town is a city where hundreds of thousands of people do not have proper homes and have little prospect of getting them, the Western Cape government says.They are young, unemployed and poor, and the situation is worse by the year, according to the province's housing plan, presented to the legislature's housing portfolio committee on Tuesday.Some of the shocking points which emerged from housing applications were:
With an annual growth rate of only one percent, the city's housing backlog was expected to reach 460 000 by 2020.
'We do not want to create an impression there is an absolute lack of capacity'
If R1-billion was spent every year on building houses, the demand for formal housing would only be met by 2033.
If R500-million was spent annually, the demand for site and services only would be met by 2017.

Fifty-one percent of applicants lived in shacks, 31 percent in backyards and 12 percent shared homes with other people.
Of the applicants, 79 percent earned less than R1 500 per month and 18 percent between R1 500 and R3 500.
Most housing applicants - 60 percent - were aged between 21 and 40, and 31 percent had one dependant and 19 percent two or more.
Sixty-three percent were unemployed.
A huge majority - 93 percent - did not indicate the type of dwelling they wanted.This information helped to give the provincial government an idea about what was needed to address the backlog, Manny Sotumi, provincial chief director for planning services, said."All this pertains to the metro which absorbs 70 percent of our grand funding - so it is telling as to the patterns that exist in the city and the province as a whole. A large proportion live in backyards and as such, our plan and strategy is to address that head on. "The largest chunk without dependants are very young and people will have children. This is a growing population and we need to tailor for it accordingly."We're using the total of 360 000 (applicants). We know it verges on the 400 000 mark, but if we look at one-percent growth year on year, we're looking at a backlog of over a million by 2040 - if we don't seek to deal with the issues," Sotumi said. At a cost of R13 500 per site, the plan showed that if site and services were funded to the tune of R2-billion per year, this backlog would be wiped out by 2018. If houses, at R56 000 per site, were built and R900-million spent annually, applicants' demand for state-built houses would be met by 2012.While on site arrangements are encouraged, the plan is aimed at housing people close to where they work and to reduce commuting times. No deadline was given, but projects currently under way will result in construction of more than 12 000 houses. They include 6 242 in Delft, 2 800 in Belhar, 1 500 near Blue Downs and 650 in Ilitha Park in Khayelitsha."This is looking primarily at the metro since it absorbs most of our resources, although the rest of the province is also looked at," Sotumi said.Other projects expected to start over the next three years would build a further 6 347 houses in areas such as Grassy Park, Eerste River, Zeekoevlei, Pelican Park and Khayelitsha. "(In) the year 2008/09, we're looking at the possibility of releasing some 9 472 hectares of land. This does not mean we will have homes in that year. We will release the land, do the planning and then start construction as rapidly as possible," he said.Portfolio committee members asked if audits were done of available land, whether the province had the capacity to build so many houses, if contractors were suitable and if women and youth empowerment was considered.Local Government and Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi said a capacity audit was done in all municipalities in 2005."Key issues came up. We've found areas lacking also impact on housing delivery - whether it is engineering, project management and so on. As a result, we looked at shared services. Soon we're going to the executive for a report that will help us beef up capacity," he said.Dyantyi's head of department, Shanaaz Majiet, said: "One of the biggest weaknesses in some municipalities is contract management and project management. Another is the quality of monitoring on site. "We do not want to create an impression there is an absolute lack of capacity because that would not be true, but we've got a very good sense of what kind of support is needed."

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