Cape Town celebrates a thousand new homeowners

11 March 2015

About 1 200 Breaking New Ground units have already been handed over to beneficiaries of the Pelican Park integrated human settlements development in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, according to the city.

The city is working with its partners to build homes and communities in “continued efforts to increase the delivery of housing opportunities as a means of enabling redress”, it says.

It is expected that more than 700 subsidised houses will be handed over by December 2016, marking the completion of the state-funded portion of the project. The total cost of this development is approximately R700-million, which includes state funding and private investment. Power Construction is the contractor overseeing the engineering and construction.

“We are sparing no effort to ensure that this development is completed on time,” says the city’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen. “With our partners, we are making progress possible and this project shows that we cannot forever rely only on [the] government to fund the large-scale delivery of housing opportunities to our marginalised residents.

“We must draw in the private sector to balance the dynamics of the housing market and we have to devise new ways to ensure delivery of scale. The city cannot do this alone. The increased delivery of housing opportunities to our vulnerable residents must become part of the mainstream conversation.”

Affordability

Pelican Park, a World Design Capital 2014 project, is integrated in terms of affordability: there are 2 024 totally subsidised homes (Breaking New Ground) being built alongside 760 starter homes (gap housing) selling for R320 000, and 360 higher value homes (bonded) valued from R480 000 to R700 000.

Provision has been made for two new schools and a regional clinic to be built respectively by the Western Cape department of education and Cape Town’s department of health. Two properties have been zoned as places of worship.

A commercial precinct was opened in November 2014 to bring economic opportunities for the residents. “There are generous open spaces within the development itself and safe courtyards encircled by houses,” says Cape Town.

Pelican Park fronts on to the False Bay Ecology Park, which overlooks Zeekoevlei. It is open during the day for bird watching and picnicking.

“So many of our residents were denied home ownership under the apartheid regime. Receiving the opportunity to own an asset is key to the empowerment of our previously disadvantaged residents and to the transformation of our city in general,” says Van Minnen.

A total of 71 of the subsidised homes were built during the Habitat for Humanity International Nelson Mandela Build Week in 2014, from 14 to 18 July.

A new community

“We are building a whole community, a whole neighbourhood,” crew leader Simone, who lives in neighbouring New Horizon, said at the time.

Beneficiaries of homes were required to help the developers and the private sector to build the houses. One of them, Desiree Andrews, said: “I feel joy unspeakable to be here.”

Husband and wife team Shamiema and Nizaam Kherekar were just as delighted. “To have helped on this build is fantastic.”

The beneficiaries are drawn from various places, and are determined to build a community together: “We are building a neighbourhood. It is great to be building one our own homes. It gives a sense of ownership and achievement,” said Renee Rhode.

Speaking at the end of the Mandela build week, Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela pointed out the scale of the housing needs in the country, as well as the limitations on the government. There were 6 million taxpayers in the country, of 52 million people. The housing backlog was at 2 million, but the budget only stretched to 200 000 houses – just 10% of the need, he said.

The Pelican Park greenfields project is the only fully integrated housing development in Western Cape. It will be a new town, with all the facilities needed to live, work and play.

SAinfo reporter and City of Cape Town