Shack dwellers and housing NGOs have dismissed sentiments expressed by Human Settlement MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela that affordable housing would provide a lasting solution for the province’s housing needs.
Madikizela made the statement during an Affordable Housing Development, Human Settlement and Finance Summit in Durban recently.
DAG CEO Kailash Bhana said residents earning between R3 500 and R12 500 a month could be accommodated through the formal housing market by approaching banks to facilitate loans.
“This strategy will free up government to focus on the poor who are unable to access housing without state assistance in the form of subsidies,” argued Bhana.
She noted that single residential accommodation for urban living was more expensive to provide than row housing, semi-detached housing or three-storey walk-ups.
“The designs do not make efficient use of the land available and the high cost of extending infrastructure, roads and services to areas located on the periphery should also be taken into account,” she said.
She added that the location of many of Cape Town’s 222 informal settlements offered residents access to job opportunities, transport, health and education facilities
Bhana called on Madikizela to release “well-located public and private serviced land for housing families earning below R3 500”.
“These parcels of land could be used for mixed income and mixed-use development.
“Well located infill land in established communities can be utilised to provide mediumdensity, public rental accommodation and also limit the sprawl of cities, contributing to greater sustainability,” she said.
One of the leaders at Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers, Tilla Groepe, was cynical of Madikizela’s statement and alleged that corruption was the root cause of Cape Town’s housing problems.
Khaya Xintolo of the Mandela Park Backyarders’ Association said affordable housing would not provide a lasting solution to Cape Town’s housing problems because the majority of the population earned below R3 500.
Meanwhile, Madikizela’s spokesman Bruce Oom maintained that the department would continue providing subsidised housing to the poor, but that it was looking for a solution to the housing needs of residents who could pay for rates and services.