If you submitted a housing application after 1988, which was 24 years ago, chances are the City of Cape Town has not yet got around to it.
This emerged in an affidavit, which was submitted to the Western Cape High Court this week as part of a court wrangle to evict a group of Mitchells Plain families.
The families were among the hundreds of backyard dwellers who illegally invaded four pieces of city-owned land in Tafelsig in May.
The high court evicted them in August, and while most of them have since moved, about 50 people moved on to a nearby piece of land owned by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.
The agency is now trying to evict them, and when the matter last appeared in court, the city’s legal team said all its temporary relocation areas (TRAs) were filled to capacity.
Acting Judge Pearl Mantame ordered the city to submit a report as to why there was no alternative accommodation available for the families. The city this week submitted the report, which laid bare its mounting challenges in rolling out its housing plan.
In the accompanying affidavit by Gregory Goodwin, the city’s head of sub-councils and area co-ordination for human settlements, he said any vacant accommodation was offered to people on their housing database, according to when they had lodged their applications.
The city was currently dealing with applications which had been submitted between 1983 and 1988.
The report showed that there had been an “enormous migration of people” into Cape Town over a number of years.
“The population of Cape Town will continue to grow significantly each year, from both natural birth as well as in-migration. By 2030, the city’s population is expected to have grown by 13 percent to 4.2 million. The challenge of providing various forms of housing… and municipal services within the constraints of the resources available to the city is obvious,” the report said.
There were about 400 000 households in Cape Town that needed adequate housing, and this figure increased by between 16 000 and 18 000 households a year.
In addition, the city’s TRAs were full, with the exception of Blikkiesdorp in Delft, leaving no other site but Blikkiesdorp for the Tafelsig families to be placed.
This was an about turn from the city, which last told the court that the families could no longer be accommodated because all its TRAs had been filled.
The city has two TRAs – one in Delft and the other in Mfuleni, known as Bosasa settlement.
The province also has three other emergency housing sites, namely Bhekela in Philippi, Tsunami in Delft and another site in Langa.
The city’s report said eight other areas had been identified as possible locations for emergency housing; however, these would only be developed within three years. The case resumes on Tuesday