Overstrand's lack of Housing delivery
In spite of this crisis, the Municipality has only built some 680 houses between the years 2006 and 2011.
According to a Treasury report released in November 2010, the Western Cape had spent less than 35% of it’s human settlements grants midway through the financial year. In 2011, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale told Parliament that, "in the interest of service delivery", the department was considering transferring funds from underspending provinces to those that could spend and deliver.
The Monitor posed a number of questions to the Municipality on the status of housing in the Overstrand, but unfortunately answers were not forthcoming by the time of going to press. However, the Monitor has now received the Municipality’s response concerning, in particular, the proposed housing development in Swartdam Road in Zwelihle. We asked the Municipality whether there was a legally constituted Social Compact in place for this development and received the assurance that this was in fact the case.
A social compact is an agreement amongst a number of parties about commitment to undertake development according to an agreed development vision, starting with a specific project or projects. This agreement is both a relationship between the parties and a formal contract which must be signed by all the members of the compact. However, asked for comment, the Chairperson of the Zwelihle Sub-Committee of the Social Compact Mr Gcobani Ndzongana, stated, ‘We have not signed any agreements or received much information as yet from the municipality.’ When asked specifically about the Swartdam Road Project Ndzongana said, ‘A Cape Town based company, which will be in charge of the housing project, came to make the Swartdam Housing Project presentation to the community way before our Social Compact was even elected.’
According to the National Housing Code, the Social Compact will be the official consultative body in any particular area for:
- participating in the preparation, implementation and maintenance of the official housing waiting list
- providing input and feedback to and from the organization it represents and the community at large.
- participating in strategic decisions of the area relating to the provision of municipal housing.
- providing input and feedback from the community allocation of houses from the existing housing waiting lists.
It would appear that the Swartdam Road Project is going ahead without any consultation with the Zwelihle community or a legally constituted Social Compact.
The Monitor also asked the Municipality whether an application for the development in Swartdam Road had been lodged with the Province. The answer was in the affirmative. However, according the National Housing code, all housing applications must be accompanied by a signed Social Compact agreement.
Also, according to documents from the Provincial Department of Housing, there are no formal applications being considered at the moment. There are a number of potential developments that have been identified, but none of these is anywhere near the application stage. This means that the provision of any new houses will be some years away.
According to the Southern African Housing Foundation, ‘...a beneficiary can expect to wait at least 2.5 years from the inception of the project to final occupancy of a house’. Asked about other new housing developments being planned, the Municipality told the Monitor that there were projects in Eluxolweni, near Pearly Beach, several projects in Gansbaai and Hawston. However, according to the province, formal applications have not yet been received for any of these developments.