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Monday Feb 17, 2014

N2 Gateway project nears completion

It took nearly nine years, but the N2 Gateway housing project in Cape Town, launched as a national priority project in 2005, has delivered nearly 11 000 of a total of just more than 14 000 free homes.

And the provincial government has hired mediators in a bid to address community opposition in some of the areas where homes are still outstanding, in a bid to bring the project to completion by next year.

Nathan Adriaanse, provincial Human Settlements Department spokesman, said all 14 172 homes in four areas close to the N2 were on schedule for completion by next year.

2 The two-bedroom, 40m homes, which are fully subsidised by the government, have an open-plan living area, a bathroom with a bath and a flush toilet, and are supplied with electricity and water.

Among the homes already occupied by people who previously lived in shacks, the vast majority - 8 719 - are situated in Delft, while 650 are in Joe Slovo in Langa, 503 in Boystown in Crossroads, and 1 074 in New Rest in Gugulethu, according to the department's records.

Construction of a few thousand more N2 Gateway homes is continuing in Delft and Joe Slovo, but no more building has taken place for more than a year in New Rest and Boystown.

In New Rest, a surveyor needed to be appointed to establish boundaries for an outstanding 81 homes, and the identification of beneficiaries was being finalised, according to Adriaanse.

New Rest community leader Doc Gqomo said infighting in the community's housing steering committee about which companies should be appointed to complete the homes had prevented the development going ahead. In Boystown, shack dwellers are refusing to move to temporary relocation areas (TRAs) to make way for 889 outstanding houses, despite being promised they would be able to return once the houses were complete.

Adriaanse said the provincial government had hired mediators, who they hoped would secure community buy-in so that the project could be completed.

Shack dwellers from Boystown told Weekend Argus this week that they were indeed asked to move to TRAs established in Delft. But they refused because other shack dwellers from the area had agreed to move, but had never returned - and were still living in the TRAs.

'Those who have moved further away to Delft are still there today. It's better to stay close by, then you have a better chance to get a house,' said Noluthando Mkizwana, 53.

Mkizwana said she was prepared to move temporarily to another site in Boystown to make way for houses, but not to another area.

Pelokazi Zathu, 27, said: 'Delft is too far and I won't go there. I want to see my house being built in front of my eyes and know that it's my house.'
Nomasimphiwe Nkomiyahlaba, 33, agreed: 'I would rather stay in my shack my whole life than move to Delft because others were taken there and never got a house back here.'

Meanwhile, residents from the Blikkiesdorp TRA in Delft and the Joe Slovo TRA in Langa have expressed joy at receiving free homes.

Margaret Bennet, 48, her construction worker husband Clive and their children Cheslyn, 22, Ryan, 20, and Devenay, 12, lived in a shack in a back yard in Athlone for seven years before moving to Blikkiesdorp in 2010.

In March, 2012, they were allocated a house in Delft.

'On that day, no one was happier than me. I screamed and jumped up and down when I heard we were getting a house. I went crazy.

'While I was in Blikkiesdorp, I prayed for a house and God has answered my prayers,' said Bennet.

While life in Blikkiesdorp had been crime-ridden and her son Cheslyn was shot in his leg there, she and her family were now living in harmony with their neighbours.

A shack in the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa that was occupied by Vuyolwethu Qhaba, her sister Zinzi, their father Vuyisile and mother Nobanele, was destroyed along with about 4 000 others in a major fire in the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa in 2005.

They saved a bag containing their IDs, their parents' bed and a television, but 'everything else' was destroyed, including most of their furniture, said Vuyolwethu, now 23. They were relocated to a TRA in Joe Slovo, and after living there for eight years, were finally allocated a home in Joe Slovo on December 5.

'We didn't think we were going to get a house because so many people living in the TRA were also looking forward to having houses, but they never got a house. It was so exciting when we moved into our own home.'

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)


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