Residents of Mshenxiswa Village, formerly known as the ‘Garden Site’ Housing Project in Zwelihle, celebrated when receiving their long-awaited homes from Overstrand Mayor Rudolph Smith and Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela on 7 February.
As part of a bigger project to upgrade seven informal settlements in Zwelihle, this housing development project consists of 58 high density units and cost R11 million. It is the first high density residential area in the Overstrand and it took 18 months to complete.
The new residents can at last call this 40m² house with open plan kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom with a yard ‘home’.
Mr. Lusiba Mzwandile applied for a housing subsidy 30 years ago and today, at 71 years old, he became a homeowner for the very first time. “I feel blessed to have a proper roof over my head and to know it belongs to me,” Mzwandile said. He thanked everyone involved in the process for them to receive a house.
The elderly Wellington and wife Siyo Varoyi (64) could barely contain their joy when opening the door to their new home. Nolovile Manqeza (59), Van and wife Novusile Ndzule (58) and Mfundo and wife Alvet Sithetho (48) were delighted when they received the keys to their homes. They said it is a joyful day and they had been waiting for this day for a long time.
During his welcome address, Mayor Smith urged owners to “look after this newly built house by taking good care of it – it is now your property and you have to take responsibility for it.”
Mayor Smith asked the housing recipients not to sell their houses. “If you sell it, it will be a great loss to you and your future generation. I am pleased that the beneficiaries will now have a place that they can, with pride, call home. At long last, you and your children have a safe place to go to at night and you are not dependent on family and friends in times of bad weather.”
He also paid tribute to his predecessor Ald Nicolette Botha-Guthrie and thanked the Minister, councillors, ward committees, social compact committees, and community involved for their co-operation and all the work done thus far to improve the quality of life for these new residents.
‘House keys open up a variety of avenues to a better future’
In his keynote address Minister Madikizela said the current housing backlog for the Western Cape is huge - and growing - as more and more people come to this province for a better, safer life and the possibility of work opportunities.
“Given the budget, we will continue to make every effort to ensure that more housing opportunities are made available and allocated to the most deserving people first – but we have to ensure when allocating houses, that the correct people get them.
Housing delivery is not a stand-alone strategy and is also an inherently slow process. “While building houses, we have also started servicing informal settlements to ensure improved living conditions for everyone who chooses to live in the Western Cape,” the Minister said.
In most informal settlements residents face a range of basic life challenges, including poor access to basic sanitation and water supply, solid waste accumulation, and recurrent shack fires.
“Keys open a variety of avenues to a better future. And we are aware that taxpayers, people earning between R3 000 – R15 000 - who are contributing to the economy, do not qualify for free housing and that they also do not qualify for a bank loan.
“So it is not just about building houses; but also about transferring land to people. We want as many people as possible to be given the opportunity to own property.
“That is why we cannot force people not to sell their property – especially now the property industry is booming and we encourage people to become players in the property market.
“BUT people must understand the VALUE of the house and we need to talk about this and educate all residents. New homeowners must ensure that they know the value of their houses before they decide to sell them.”
“I’ve just come from a visit where one house was sold to two people”, said Madikizela. “We also cannot have people selling their houses for R10 000 and going back to a shack. Then you are in a far worse situation than you were before”.
- Mshenxiswa Village housing handover marks the completion of phase 1 of the Upgrading of Informal Settlements project (UISP). It further incorporates the construction of ‘Breaking new Ground (NNB) top structures on three greenfield sites, namely Mshe Village, Site C2 along Swartdam Road (132 units) and the Housing Admin Site in Stil Street (164 units).