The long wait for housing

Building came to a standstill after gangs apparently demanded protection money from the City of Cape Town.

Wayne Grever whose wife Yulanda van der Merwe has been on the City of Cape Town’s housing list for 21 years, says he needs to urgently get a house to live in as the extremely cold weather makes the chronic pain in his leg worse.

Mr Grever, who lives in a backyard dwelling on a Bonteheuwel property, said he was shot in his right leg when he was 19, resulting in that leg being shorter than the other.

The accident has caused him so much pain, that he is unable to work and depends on a social grant to keep him afloat.

The 43-year-old man said he had noticed the Valhalla Park building site in Valhalla Drive.

He said his wish was to be given one of those houses as it was close to where he currently lives. “They shot the contractor last year and ever since that the building has stopped and all the people are waiting on their houses. I need a place to live in as it’s so cold in the winter. I’m tired of moving from place to place, I’ve lived in five to six places already. I know people who got houses after being on the list for 13 years,” he said.

Graham Lindhorst, chairperson of the Bishop Lavis community police forum (CPF) said the building had stopped due to gang-related shooting in the area, and repeated attacks on contractors on site.

While Mr Lindhorst said rumours had been circulating that protection money was being demanded from the City, mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron, denied this.

When asked about the possibility of Mr Grever being given one of the houses, Ward 50 councillor Angus Mckenzie said as much he sympathised with the man, there were 6 500 backyard dwellers in Bonteheuwel and the best that the City could do at the moment was to provide them with water and electricity.

He added that disabled and older people would be prioritised.

“To all the young people on the housing list, I strongly encourage you to go out there and get a job and buy your own house and not depend on the government as there simply are not enough resources,” he said.

On whether there was an indication of when Ms Van Der Merwe would be allocated a house, Mr Herron said: “The City can only provide a time-frame after the site security issue has been resolved and when the contractor returns to site. A total of 777 subsidised units will be constructed.”