WATCH: ‘Children becoming gangsters because of poor living conditions’

Cape Town – Backyarders from the Cape Flats expressed their anger on Thursday over the provincial government’s “failure” to provide them with adequate housing at a summit hosted by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

Resident Amina James from Tafelsig said she was fed-up with her living conditions.

“There is so much land; why can’t they just give us the land?

“The children are becoming gangsters because they are living in poor conditions. I am sick and tired of this,” she said.

Provincial (SAHRC) commissioner Chris Nissen said: “This is the first step, to have a constructive dialogue and to get clear answers. What we must not do is turn this summit into a mass rally; that is not the purpose of this summit.”

Among some of the issues raised by residents was poor housing infrastructure of rental units, sanitation, evictions and the housing waiting list.

Gatvol Capetonian spokesperson Fadiel Adams said: “I want the MEC for housing to succeed and I can promise him that if he does not deliver, I will make his life hell. If we do not get what we are asking for, we take to the streets.” Gatvol Capetonian is a group protesting against the lack of housing opportunities for coloured people and apartheid-style spatial planning, among other things.

Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers said his department would, during October and November, embark on a weekend registration and verification drive to put residents on the housing database.

“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.”

The city’s representative, Waleed Adams, who heads the engineering department in the city, did not address residents. However, just hours after the summit, the city issued a statement welcoming the summit.

“The city is doing much work on this, but substantial partnerships between all government levels, as well as the private sector are required. No one organisation or one level of government can take responsibility for increasing urbanisation, here in South Africa or in the rest of the world for that matter,” said Malusi Booi mayoral committee member for human settlements.

He said the days of following one model of housing delivery were over.


Cape Argus

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