Cape Town – A Grassy Park man has accused the mayor of Cape Town of being “disrespectful” for ignoring his plight for a house.
Mogamat Faldie Petersen claims he met Mayor Dan Plato last week to plead his case. He said he had been waiting for a house for 35 years.
“Plato doesn’t want anything to do with poor people,” said Petersen, who claims the city’s response was “we will let you know”.
Petersen said he and his wife, who has cancer, and their son are now staying with a friend. The family does not have a fixed address.
The mayor confirmed that he met Petersen. “We offered him a number of options for housing, but he was not willing to take any of those offered. We try as far as possible to assist residents with housing, but it depends on available housing projects,” said Plato.
Meanwhile, residents in Manenberg claim they have been waiting for homes for between 11 and 23 years.
This claim has been denied by the City of Cape Town, which said homes were allocated to residents on the city’s database who meet the criteria. The concerns are over the Downs housing development project in Manenberg, which makes provision for 555 state-subsidised houses.
“Beneficiaries of all city housing projects are allocated in accordance with the city’s allocation policy and the housing database to ensure that housing opportunities are provided to qualifying applicants in a fair, transparent and equal manner and to prevent queue-jumping,” said for human settlements mayoral committee member Malusi Booi.
Nadia Faro said she has been on the waiting list for 11 years.
She has a child with special needs and is a backyard dweller. She said she pays R500 in rent and is charged separately for water. Faro and her five children live in a wendy house.
Another resident, Elizabeth van Rooyen, 59, claimed she had been waiting for a house for 30 years.“They told me that only those that applied after 2000 will get houses. There is also no communication with the residents.” She said she pays rent of R550 and R98 towards the rates bill.
Elizabeth Avent, 67, claimed she had been on the waiting list for 17 years. She told Weekend Argus she was HIV positive, suffers from high blood pressure and has had a stroke.
“I live alone in a wendy house. I pay R200 rent, I buy my own electricity, but now the landlord has cut the electricity connections,” Avent said. She said she had submitted her application in 2012.
The city said it has no record of Avent’s application.
Shihaam Jumat, 35, has been assisting her mother, Shahieda Jumat with her application for a house. Shihaam has an 18-year-old disabled daughter and claims she has been on the special needs waiting list for 14 years.
“My daughter cannot walk, talk and she is bedridden Special needs people are supposed to get priority,” said Jumat. She said she pays R700 rent per month.
The city said Shahieda Jumat registered on the housing database in 1993. “The applicants lived in Bonteheuwel, which was outside of the target area, and so could not be considered.”
Yusuf Gelderbloem said he had lived in Manenberg for most of his life. “We lived in a house for 50 years and we lost it. A house is your humanity.”
The city said Shafieka Gelderbloem had not been selected for the Manenberg housing project as she registered on the housing database in 2008, which is after the cut-off date.
“Each project has a cut-off date determined by the project steering committee, to ensure that all people with older housing database dates are assisted before those with younger dates are approached,” said Booi.
Who qualifies for a City of Cape Town house?
According to mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi, an applicant must:
* Be a South African citizen or permanent resident of the country.
* Be over 18 years.
* Be married or be a cohabiting partner, or else have dependants (this does not apply to applicants over the age of 60, or who have disabilities).
* Have a combined income of less than R3500 a month, thus qualifying for state-assisted housing.
* Never have owned property.
* Be competent to contract.
* Not have benefited from a government housing subsidy.