Housing is free – don’t be conned

2016-03-22 06:00

The City of Cape Town reminds community members that they do not need to pay anything to get their housing opportunity.

This comes after a group of people had illegally occupied a piece of land close to Crestway High School, 10th Avenue in Retreat (“Tyre burning a call for help”, People’s Post, 15 March).

It is alleged the land invaders were made to pay R50 each to “register” for the empty plot so that they could get houses. The money was said to have been collected by Howard Soetwater who represented the Homeless People’s Organisation.

Benedicta van Minnen, Mayco member for human serttlements, says the City has received more than one tip-off about Soetwater.

“Last year, we received complaints that this individual has allegedly been exploiting vulnerable people in the community by promising them houses in exchange for a fee of about R50, which he claimed would secure their space. The City was also informed that various people who have unknowingly heard about this scam, and who are in desperate need of housing, have been enquiring about this illegal action pertaining to the Crestway and Allenby Drive open space, Retreat – wanting to know how to pay their money, how they can qualify, when can they move in,” she says.

The City’s anti-land invasion unit demolished the makeshift structures and plot markings on the empty land.

About 300 000 Capetonians are registered on the housing database and awaiting a housing opportunity.

“We have a housing delivery system in place to ensure that those who have been registered for a housing opportunity for the longest period of time are considered first.

“Nor can we tolerate the hijacking of housing opportunities through land invasions. Every single piece of land that is invaded becomes a fire risk, basic service delivery suffers and the City’s resources are stretched to the limit.”

The City is not planning any housing development on the land that was invaded. The City says backyarders of Retreat and Steenberg will benefit from the current programme which rolls out water and sanitation services (one per erf).

Soetwater was unavailable for comment.

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