Backyard project queries

2015-05-05 06:00

Angry residents have lined up to lay complaints with the Backyarders’ Association in Hanover Park.

Chairperson of the association Ricardo Sedras says residents have been asking questions about the City of Cape Town’s Backyarders project.

“We want to know from the City if they are done in Hanover Park because many residents have not received their toilets or electricity yet. We are also hearing that they are busy in other areas and no one is communicating with us,” he says.

Sedras says he has sent numerous emails to the City with no response.

In Hanover Park, officials identified 1300 backyard dwellings which were located on City-owned land, of which 693 were included in the pilot project.

In 2012 the Backyarders project was established to supply services to people living in the backyards of rental stock.

Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Benedicta van Minnen explains the project was approved by council in October 2011 which allowed the roll-out of services to backyarders. Work started in Hanover Park in May 2013.

Van Minnen further explains that the project was not put on hold as dwellings were identified as part of a pilot project.

“The Hanover Park 693 Backyarder project was one of the first pilot projects for backyarders. It was introduced during May 2013. The anticipated timeline to complete the Hanover Park 693 Backyarder project was 30 June 2014. However, this could not be achieved due to the volatility of the area as a result of gang violence,” she explains.

Sedras says no reasons for the end of the project were communicated.

“There are structures with toilets and others with water and then there are some which do not have anything,” he says.

Van Minnen says the project was treated as a ‘pilot’ and 693 backyarder services were installed.

“Some of the yards are not conducive for the installation of the backyard services,” she says.

“The City is making every effort to improve service delivery, which is vital to bringing redress, and it is committed to improving the plight of our residents residing in backyard dwellings.”

Van Minnen continues: “The City does all it can to provide interim relief and services to residents who may be waiting for a housing opportunity.”

Sedras says there is a lack of communication between the City and the backyarders.

“These services have been promised and the backyarders are still waiting for the services,” says Sedras.

“The City should open up about what happened because they have already moved on to other areas.”

However, Van Minnen says, the project was not put on hold.

“The pilot project is completed, however, the snag list still needs to be completed. A number of erven, which house backyarders, were identified on rental stock properties owned by the City,” she explains

The services which are to be installed are the placement of panel-cast concrete toilets, sewer and water reticulation from existing water and sewer plot connections, plumbing for a waterborne toilet, wash trough and tap stand per erf.

A number of homes were also identified for electrical connections and prepaid meters.

“This will be provided to a maximum of three backyard structures per rental property, where possible.

“However, reinforcement of the medium voltage network would be required to deal with the additional backyarder load,” says Van Minnen.

This is an ongoing programme, she says

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