Angry Blikkiesdorp women give Zille a torrid time

13 11 2009

November 12, 2009 Edition 2
Aziz Hartley – Cape Times

RESIDENTS of Blikkiesdorp in Delft confronted Premier Helen Zille yesterday and demanded that the DA provincial administration provide them with proper housing.

Angry women told Zille, on a visit to the area, that nothing has come of promises housing MECs made before and after this year’s elections.
Blikkiesdorp, a temporary relocation area, has become a place of misery for families living there, they said.

While community activist Priscilla Ludidi told Zille that Cape Town mayor Dan Plato had said that proper houses would be built on vacant land in the area, families had to wait until next year.

Other women demanded to see the housing waiting list.

They claimed they’d waited for up to 25 years while people who applied much later had received houses.

Zille undertook to investigate their claims and explained that many problems arose while the government’s N2 Gateway housing project was run by housing agency Thubelisha Homes which has become bankrupt. She said the provincial housing authority worked closely with Thubelisha’s replacement, the Housing Development Agency, and that 2 000 houses would be constructed soon.

“But I must stress that there are many other families who also have to be considered,” Zille said.

The DA provincial government changed the housing allocation from 70-30 to 50-50 for people in informal settlements and backyard dwellers respectively, Zille said. She also promised to investigate if people were properly registered on the waiting list.

Zille explained that there were 430 000 families on the list and upgrades of places such as Blikkiesdorp were undertaken while people waited.

“I promise you that we’ll have a transparent process so that everyone understands what is happening. We have nothing to hide, but I must say that not everyone will be helped immediately,” Zille said.

A Blikkiesdorp mother, Matilda Groepe, demanded to see the waiting list.

“These are fake promises. Where are our houses? We have been dumped here by the DA. To think that we are the people who put you in power. You just talk and talk,” an incensed Groepe shouted at Zille.

Other residents complained about drugs, prostitution, illegal shebeens and poor living conditions in Blikkiesdorp.

“We have two families in one shack. In one side there are two teenagers and a baby who have to share a bed with their parents. The place is wet and our children are getting sick,” a tearful Shireen Mars said.

The city council set up Blikkiesdorp last year to house about 450 families evicted from unfinished N2 Gateway houses they illegally occupied in December 2007.

The area has since been expanded and currently accommodates about 10 000 people.

aziz.hartley@inl.co.za

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