Cape Town refurbishes thousands of community flats

24 March 2015

The refurbishment of about 7 000 community residential units owned by the Cape Town was on verge of being completed, the city said on the eve of Human Rights Day.

It said the massive programme had been symbolic of the administration’s efforts to bring about redress by investing in the maintenance of infrastructure in previously under-invested areas and improving the lives of our more vulnerable residents.

Cape Town was proud to have reached this milestone, especially as an ode to Human Rights Day on 21 March.

Its investment in the upgrade of its rental stock, housing some of its most vulnerable residents, had also led to the creation of more than 14 900 job opportunities thus far, while approximately R1.25-billion had been spent on this project since it was launched in 2008.

Approximately 93% of the units identified for upgrade have been completed.

“This project is intricately linked to improving service delivery to our more vulnerable residents,” said the mayoral committee member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen. “When service delivery is improved, living conditions are improved. Ensuring dignity is a core value enshrined within our Constitution, and even though this was a difficult process, the city of Cape Town is committed to delivering to all.

“This achievement is our tangible tribute to Human Rights Day and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect this right.”

Most of Cape Town’s rental blocks of flats are more than 30 years old, and the city says quality is a priority when it comes to the rental unit upgrades. Each rental unit has to pass several stringent quality checks before various levels of contractual completion are certified. Even after the families take occupation, the community liaison officer visits each home to list any complaints residents may have.

Work has been completed in Scottsville, Scottsdene, Uitsig, Woodlands, Connaught, Kewtown and The Range. Refurbishment is still under way in Manenberg, Hanover Park, Heideveld and Ottery.

“We urge communities to continue to work with us so that we can complete the remainder of the units. We remain concerned about the level of gang violence in certain areas which is jeopardising the safety of our residents and our efforts to increase service delivery,” said Van Minnen.

“We are proud of our progress, especially considering that there have been 85 incidents of violence on our sites since 2013, which have affected our progress. We are, however, doing everything in our power to address these issues. The South African Police Service and the city’s metro police and law enforcement department are assisting so that the human settlements directorate can complete these vital upgrades. Private security firms have also been deployed to the troublesome sites.

“Furthermore, the Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme’s efforts to enhance safety through gang interventions in the most volatile areas have been stepped up,” she added.

In 2014, the refurbishment project was named the South African Housing Foundation’s Community Development Project of the Year.

“Where units have been completed and tenants have moved in, the tenants are receiving training on general home maintenance and the importance of paying their rent as the rental income is used by the city to conduct general maintenance on its rental stock.

“Creating the culture of payment is therefore very important and it is vital that a sense of shared responsibility exists,” Van Minnen added.

Source: City of Cape Town