CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers on Thursday night addressed residents of Noordhoek in Velddrif in the Bergrivier Municipal area following recent violent protests which led to the destruction of 53 newly constructed homes.
“I commend the community for allowing frank and open discussions, which presented an opportunity to clarify the criteria that’s being used in the allocation of housing opportunities," Simmers explained in a statement.
“As a reminder, the criteria consists of the elderly, people with disabilities, child-headed households, those longest, 15 years and longer on the waiting list, and then backyard dwellers (only for new/Greenfield projects)."
According to reports, residents of Noordhoek went on a two-day service delivery protest, setting alight the newly-built homes and the local library. The units are part of the area’s Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP), where 107 houses are being constructed. The damage is estimated at R4,2 million.
“I’ve requested that a task team, which must be finalised by Tuesday, be established to address the various concerns raised by the community. This team will consist of provincial staff from my department, an official from the municipality and four community members, who are apolitical. The four community members must be elected by the local community,” Simmers said.
This task team, which will review the beneficiary list, must submit it to Simmers’ office by November 30. They are also required to report on a fortnightly basis until the project is completed.
Furthermore, they must also formally inform all affected beneficiaries and or complainants who do not qualify for a Breaking New Ground (BNG) or free housing opportunity, by the end of this month, the department said.
Although it is estimated that the damage caused is approximately R4,2 million, a full investigation is currently underway and the full extent and cost of the damage will be announced in due course.
“I reiterate that under no circumstances can the illegal and quite frankly criminal events of the past few days be condoned or legitimised. The law must take its course with those implicated in the destruction,” said Simmers.
He further encourage the municipality’s community members to participate in the housing beneficiary verification and registration drive over the weekend of November 9-10, to ensure that their details are up to date on the Housing Demand Database.
“I will return to the community at the end of November to report back on the progress that’s been made and to further engage them about any other housing related concerns they might have,” Simmers said.
African News Agency (ANA)