Concern about housing project

2016-05-17 06:00
A group of community members have voiced their concern at the completed houses handed over to beneficiaries of the Heideveld Housing project. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

A group of community members have voiced their concern at the completed houses handed over to beneficiaries of the Heideveld Housing project. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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A group of Heideveld residents have voiced their concern over an ongoing housing project.

As reported extensively in People’s Post (“Homes bring hope”, 25 April; “Moving day set for April”, 1 March; “Focus on getting done”, 11 November 2015; “Housing has us in the dark”, 15 September 2015 and “Fracas over housing”, 25 August 2015) the first group of beneficiaries have moved into their new homes.

However, the residents, led by Pastor Isaac de Jongh, have aired their views, saying that they were not consulted regarding the final processes in handing over the various residences.

“We are unhappy with the deliverance and the quality of the houses and the lies of the mayor who said that she spoke with us to decide on the way the house was supposed to be built and the colour of the house. She never engaged with us at all.” De Jongh said that although he is pleased for the people who have moved in, he is disappointed at the fact that certain people who have waited longer than 30 years for a house have not had the opportunity to move yet, while those who have not waited as long have already been handed the keys to their new homes.

He went onto say that some of the houses were done when heavy rain was falling and that as a result, those walls of those respective houses were still wet when the beneficiaries moved into the houses.

Anthony Moses, councillor for ward 44 of which Heideveld is a part of, is aware of the allegations levelled by De Jongh.

“What I have heard recently in the community is that Isaac de Jongh is having meetings with community members and the allegations that I got from community members who came to see me are that they are persuading people not to move in because of certain specifications in terms of the house, such as the size (40m²), and these are all the things which were communicated to the community during the second public meeting,” says Moses.

Moses stated if it was true that De Jongh has made these allegations, he was interfering with the project. He then reminded that there was still a standing court interdict against De Jongh preventing him from interfering with the housing project in any way, shape or form.

However, De Jongh’s understanding of the court order is not in line with the way Moses interpreted it.

“It is an interdict that we must not threaten the councillor and contractor. So we did not threaten anyone. Nobody has interfered with the project at all. We are not even near the site. I don’t think that we are interfering. If people have issues, like someone who has been on the waiting list for 40 years and someone who has been on the waiting list for 33 years moves in instead, the other person will not feel great about that. People plan and call the project co-ordinator and call the councillor and air their views and heartaches, and nobody at the City cares about these people, so what can we do as a committee or as members of the community of Heideveld?”

De Jongh said that it was not his prerogative what is being said on social platforms, but those were the feelings of community members who have approached him personally.

“It is not like I am telling people what to say. People come to our committee and we say the people tell us; it is not what I say,” said De Jongh.

Moses said his concerns relating to the housing project are solely focused on the beneficiaries.

“What is important for me is someone who has been living in a shelter or a backyard for many years. We have these residents that feel they are not concerned about how big the house is – they are more concerned about having a place of their own which they can call home. That is the important thing that people in our community are asking the continuous question – ‘When is it my turn to move in?’”

Moses confirmed that further legal action will be taken against De Jongh and that the City is consulting with its legal team on what steps will be taken going forward.

“I think that once again, he needs to consult the court order very properly, because the court order is very clear in what it says about the housing project. So he must go and read the court order, because if he is going to transgress, we are going to get further legal counsel against him.”

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