The last remaining vacant units in the City of Cape Town’s multi-million rand Masiphumelele Phase four housing project have officially been filled, with new and first-time homeowners expressing their appreciation for their new abodes.
On Tuesday 27 October, the final 34 beneficiaries received the keys to their new apartments in the gated complex. The project, which is now home to 227 beneficiaries, began in 2017, according to mayor Dan Plato.
According to the City, the R85 million used for the development included allocations for bulk earthworks; internal civil engineering services for the provision of water, sanitation and roads; electricity reticulation and street lighting; and formal, beneficiary-owned houses.
Beneficiary Sheila Sizane, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Friday 6 November, described making the move from her previous domestic situation to her new one as a blessing.
“I’m feeling so, so happy. Today is another day for me and I say, ‘Thank you, God’. I have been living here in Masi for 22 years – I’m originally from Graaff Reinet. I’ve got four kids and a grandson, so we’re a family of six, but before this, we were living in a place with 11 people,” she explained. “It was hard because it was only two bedrooms, a kitchen, a small two-in-one lounge and one toilet. Can you imagine? Eleven people! Now I say, ‘Thank you, God!’ I’m going to have my own bathroom, I’m going to have my own house and my own keys.”
Sizane added that this year was especially difficult, with lockdown putting a halt on her money-saving efforts. “It was hard to save money for a house,” Sizane said.
Another resident who received her keys on the day and began moving in was Gladys Vani (72). She is her family’s breadwinner.
“I feel so good! I’m happy! I used to rent a place in Masi and no one was working in my house, and I only get the grant from the government. This is the first house I’ve ever owned and I feel good,” she told People’s Post.
According to a statement from the City: “This housing project has seen some of Cape Town’s most vulnerable residents from the approved target areas, including Masiphumelele’s wetland informal settlement, become first-time property owners.”
Proportional representation (PR) councillor for subcouncil 19 Patricia Franke – representing the councillor for ward 69, Felicity Purchase – on the day of the handovers, echoed a similar sentiment.
“What we’ve heard from the people – especially from the wetlands – is after 15 or 20 years waiting on the database, they’re in a house today. I think the joy they show and the appreciation is evident and they’re saying they are going to look after their houses.”
Plato said the project was only possible with the support of the community and dedication from the City’s teams.