Marabastad Townlands social housing project on track for occupation

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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From December 1, lower-income people in Tshwane will finally have their own place to call home.

This is as a result of the Marabastad Townlands social housing project, which is nearing completion.

Tshwane MMC of Housing and Human Settlements, Mpho Mehlape-Zimu, said progress, as well as the administrative process of selecting tenants, were under way.

She said the metro remained confident everything was on track with the project, and that since the application period for the units began on September 20 and closed on October 1, they had received 7 000 applications.

By September 28 590 people had already qualified.

However, she said the City was still conducting the screening and verification process.

Applicants can expect to start receiving SMS notifications as of October 28, detailing whether they qualified for a unit or not.

“Government can work, and we hope to have tenants moving in on December 1. We’ve got all the contractors on the ground. Work is happening, and if we want to make it happen, it will.”

She was speaking during an on-site inspection at the project site, accompanied by DA leader John Steenhuisen, Tshwane executive mayor Randall Williams, and DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga.

Williams said they were hoping the second phase of the project, which started in November 2020, would be completed by March next year to enable all 1 200 families to be placed.

He said the cost for both phases amounted to R500 million through the municipal entity, Housing Company Tshwane.

Williams said it was important for the City to fast-track social housing projects such as this as they wanted to deal with the ever-worrying issue of homelessness.

"We cannot continue with

homelessness because it leads to crime, unfortunately, so we need to fast track social housing.

“This country has extremely high unemployment levels and homelessness because a gap exists between RDP housing and those who can access bank finance.”

The mixed units are set to benefit Tshwane residents who do not qualify for government-sponsored housing nor earn enough to qualify for home loans, earning between R1 500 and R15 000 a month.

Williams added in a bid to address homelessness, they had three more projects similar to this one already in the pipeline.

Steenhuisen said the project model of densification was around well-located urban land close to city centres in a bid to enable people to live, work and play in the same environment. This was something he believed should be rolled out across the country.

This as, he said, even though the intentions of some RDP developments were well-intended, it then placed people in a position in which they had to spend anywhere from R80 to R100 per day on transport costs getting to and from work opportunities.

Tshwane mayor Randall Williams and MMC for Housing and Human Settlements Mpho Mehlape-Zimu inside one of the units at Marabastad Townlands development. Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

“The days of building large scale RDP developments on the outskirts of towns are not the solution anymore because we need to bring people close to the work opportunities that the CBD brings.

“Densification around the urban core and making sure you have a variety of different types of units, so you end up with a cross-subsidisation to remain financially viable, is the wave of the future for cities in South Africa.”

Steenhuisen said he believed this would address the housing crisis in the country and overcome the spatial inequality that continued to bedevil many cities due to the legacy of the apartheid system, which relegated people to the outskirts of business centres.

Pretoria News

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