Delft residents say City has forgotten those on housing waiting list from the 1990s
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Cape Town - “Everyone has a right to have access to adequate housing. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.”
This was quote from Ryno Serfontein, who represented a group of residents from Delft, who said they have been forgotten by the City of Cape Town’s Housing, while waiting between 30 and 15 years for a house.
Close to 30 residents, each armed with their City housing database registry coupon, which lists their reference number and date they made an application for government housing, detailed their stories.
Tears flowed and prayers rang out, when they shared their stories – claiming people who applied for housing, prior to 2005, were excluded from the City’s housing selection process.
Several applicants were disabled, either in a wheelchair or had life-threatening conditions, and were living in appalling conditions.
Serfontein said: “We went to the mayor’s office and we know that housing is not a problem, it is the allocation of it. We are the people who are being overlooked.
“Why are there people, who do not live in this province, receiving homes – and then renting them out for R3 500?”
Another is Shirley de Bruin, who, together with her husband Francois de Bruin, have been on the database for 27 years.
“Three years ago, my husband was left disabled and he is unable to work after having back surgery, and our five-year-old will be having his third open heart surgery in December.
“Why are officials not choosing names of people prior to 2005?” she asked.
For Igshaan Essack and his wife Sandra Essack, the need for a house is an emergency.
Essack was left wheelchair-bound 10 years ago, after suffering a stroke, and is blind in his left eye, while Sandra was retrenched two years ago, and the family have to live in a leaking wendy house, by paying rent using the husband’s pension.
They have been waiting since 2002.
“We are suffering, we are living in a wendy house that leaks, and my wife was given notice of retrenchment two years ago,” said
“We have to use a R1 000 from my pension to pay rent,” he said.
Nadia Roberts, 40, was just 18 when her mother made an application for housing, naming her as a beneficiary, in 1999.
Now, 20 years later, Roberts is a mom of three, with her eldest child Nicolin Roberts, 18, who is in Grade 11, is ready to drop out of school because they have moved 11 times in recent years.
She said her mother had died of colon cancer and she waited for a house.
“Where we lived, we had to use a drain as a toilet – that is how my mother’s human rights and dignity were taken away, all while she was dying from cancer and waiting for a house.
“She added me as a beneficiary. Why did they say that on the form instead of a dependent, if I do not qualify now for the home she was waiting for. My daughter is in Grade 11 and she is ready to drop out of school because we have moved so many times,” said Nadia Roberts.
Two weeks ago, mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi said there were 347 000 people currently on the City’s Housing Needs Register, while 60 000 homes were built since 2012, with Delft being one of the areas where homes are being constructed.
The group said they were left frustrated two weeks ago, when they met mayor Dan Plato, at his offices, to explain their plight.
“It is important to note that applicants, who are being considered for opportunities in Delft, should have applied prior to February 2006, and should have resided in the Delft source area prior to December 2014,” Booi said.
He added that Francois’s application did not meet the criteria for the Delft project, as they lived outside the area when names were selected. He said, regarding Roberts, there was no record found of her.
Booi said another applicant, that the Weekend Argus spoke to, did not meet the requirement because they lived outside of the area during selection in 2014, while another was deceased, one was approved for housing, some already owned property.
Booi said it was untrue that applicants did not qualify for homes prior to 2005.
“Residents who have applied for housing opportunities, and qualify, will be notified by the City of Cape Town when opportunities become available. The demand for affordable housing in Cape Town, as in other cities in South Africa, is acute. There are currently more than 340 000 applicants with a waiting status registered with the City’s Housing Needs Register. It must be noted that the register is not static – as opportunities are awarded to beneficiaries, they are removed from the database, and new beneficiaries are added,” said Booi.