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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Cape Town residents call for acceleration of housing for the poor

12 January 2022

A group of homeless men take in the last of the days light before seeking a place to sleep on a deserted promenade during the 21-day nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cape Town, South Africa, April 15, 2020

Cape Town residents have called on the City to accelerate the provision of housing for the poor and adequate facilities for the homeless.

Housing delivery in the City of Cape Town remains at a snail’s pace with over 350 000 citizens still on the waiting list.

The City says extreme urban growth, which sees more than 14 000 migrants each year, is exacerbating the situation.

The plight of the homeless

The City has also been at loggerheads with the homeless.

In August last year, the High Court in Cape Town ordered the City to return some of the belongings it had confiscated from the homeless in Green Point.

The tent dwellers say they want to be moved to a more conducive place.

“I have been on the housing waiting list for six years. I would like to be moved. I have kids and i cannot raise them here”, says tent dweller, Jamie Lee-Paulse.

 Another, Paul Hibbert, was concerned about how living in such conditions would affect his health.

“We would like to be moved to a proper place. I have a lung problem and the conditions here are not humane”.

Another says: “The reason why I need a house, I can go and stay too, they always take children home. I had to go and take them to a safe place.”

Budget constraints cited

With over 30 thousand applicants over 60-years-old on the database for longer than 10 years, budget improvements are crucial.

The City says budget cuts from National Treasury have impacted housing delivery.

“Before Covid we used to receive over five hundred million from treasury. Now we receive over 250 million that means our budget has been cut by 50 per cent. We, however, try to build but we are constrained, we need more”, says Mayoral committee member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi.

He estimates that over a billion rand will be spent on informal housing and other kinds of ‘new accommodation’.

Source: SABC

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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