Heideveld housing upset

The community also complained of shoddy workmanship at the housing project. This baths concrete, which is meant to secure it, collapsed.

A group of Heideveld residents have accused the housing project under way in the area, of being riddled with corruption, alleging that the community liaison officer (CLO), Ivan Wrenn, took a R20 000 bribe in order to secure a house for someone.

Mr Wrenn, however, has denied the allegations, and was scheduled to attend a disciplinary hearing convened by the contractor, by whom he is employed, yesterday Tuesday May 2.

Residents have demanded an investigation after a woman, who is apparently from Strand, moved into a house which they claim belongs to another beneficiary and, on Tuesday April 25, the residents protested outside the house in question – 67 Helderberg Close.

The group also allege that people as young as 22 years of age, were allocated houses, when others who had been on the City’s housing waiting list for many years, had still not been accommodated.

They’ve also expressed their unhappiness over the shoddy workmanship of the construction teams.

Pastor Matthew Booysen, who was part of the project steering committee of this housing development, said problems arose when they started questioning things.

“As far as we understand, 85 percent of these houses had to go to Heideveld residents.

“Then we were told only 75 percent of the locals will get houses here,” Mr Booysen said.

“We know of 11 members of one family, who used to live in a nearby informal settlement, who were all given houses. Another thing they failed to implement, is that five percent of the houses had to go to pensioners who are currently living in an upstairs flat, and whose health is not that good any longer. There are people who already own property, that also moved in. There are illegal occupants here. We are tired of corruption. The City of Cape Town must evict all illegal occupants as soon as possible, or the community will evict them,” Mr Booysen said.

Soraya Peters said she had to “fight” in order to be allocated a house in this project.

“I have been on the housing waiting list for 31 years, but some people who applied in 2002 were allocated houses here. I had to fight my way for my right for a house. I continuously went to the local housing office to make my case heard,” Ms Peters said.

Zelda Demas, also a former project steering committee member, said when rumours made the rounds that an illegal had occupant moved in, she approached the woman.

“She initially told me that it was a cancellation house. That the original owner no longer wanted it.

“After some prodding, we have her on video and audio, admitting that she paid Mr Wrenn an amount of
R20 000 for the house.

“The people working high up in the housing directorate know nothing about what is happening on the ground, and we want them to come out here and investigate these matters,” said Ms Demas.

The group claim the “original owner” had all his signed-up paperwork in order, with the property’s erf number, and all other details.

They claim the paperwork shown to them by the current occupant, is completely different to what they and the other man, who claims ownership of the house, have.

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, said there was no way that two people could lay claim to the same house.

Ms Little explained: “It is important to understand the system of allocation correctly. With housing projects in general, beneficiaries are initially given a temporary allocation against an erf number until the construction programme becomes clear.

“Once the programme is known, the project team will know which blocks (and therefore erf numbers) will be constructed first. Only then can the final allocation be done since a fair methodology needs to be followed.

“Those earliest on the database, the aged, and special needs cases are usually housed first and therefore allocations must change to enable this.

“No house can be allocated to two people at once.

“At the start of a project, provincial government authorities allocate numbers to erven prior to erven receiving their registered numbers.

“Once the erven is registered with the surveyor-general, the erf numbers may change, but even so the same number cannot be allocated to more than one beneficiary.”

She confirmed that 85 percent of the houses are earmarked for people from the area.

When asked about the allegation of corruption, Ms Little added: “The City will investigate all the allegations and do a survey to confirm whether the allegations have merit.”

The woman who moved into the house refused to comment, saying she would wait until after Mr Wrenn’s “hearing”, which was scheduled to take place yesterday (Tuesday May 2).

Mr Wrenn told Athlone News he had felt sorry for the woman, who told him she and her children had had no place to stay, but denied that he took any money from her.

“The house is a cancellation house. This lady asked me for temporary accommodation. I felt sorry for her because she told me she and her children have nowhere else to go. I told her she can stay in the house just for one month.

“I thought that the month might give her a chance to find alternative accommodation, because she told me they have nowhere to go.

“I want to clear my name, I never took any money from her. It was a mistake to allow her to move into the house.

“At the time, I didn’t think it would be a problem, now my sympathy towards her, got me into trouble,” Mr Wrenn said.