Launch of housing project marred by concerns from community members

Launch of housing project marred by concerns from community members. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ Independent Newspapers

Launch of housing project marred by concerns from community members. Picture: Timothy Bernard/ Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 17, 2024


A group of concerned community members of Princess, near Roodepoort, have accused the City of Joburg of wanting to exclude them from the Johannesburg Social Housing Company’s (Joshco) Ekhaya Gardens project which comes with 300 new flats.

The project was unveiled by MMC for human settlements Anthea Leitch on Tuesday.

Speaking to “The Star” after the unveiling of the project, a concerned community member who identified himself as Patrick Sebelemetja said they want the City to prioritise the people of the community in their allocation of the 300 units to qualifying individuals and families.

“We want the City to prioritise our people and give them at least 60% preference ahead of people who are not from around here. We have not had housing since 1994 and some of our community members who qualify to rent out these units should be given preference,” he said.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said before the start of the project, the City had promised 50 units for RDP purposes. However, at the moment, there is no indication of an RDP allocation.

“When the City bought this piece of land, it was bought with a promise to house the poor, but this was changed when Joscho took over,” he said.

Leitch, who addressed the group on the sidelines of the launch, promised to escalate their concerns.

A community leader by the name of Sean Daniels said even though the community feels aggrieved, making promises is not going to help the situation as the City can ill afford to make promises it will not be able to meet.

“Right now the community feels aggrieved, but the City cannot afford to make any promises it cannot keep as this project has been earmarked for rental only. So it will be impossible to change the project at this stage,” he said.

Speaking during the launch, Leitch said the high number of applicants said to be more than 27 000, who have applied to be considered for the 300 units, shows that there is a dire need for projects of this nature.

“Today is indeed a special day. I have been to a few other similar projects in the city and this place is one of the many that I took would be proud to live in. It is a privilege and honour to be here, and knowing that more than 27 000 people have applied for the 300 units means we need more such projects and social housing is one of the quickest ways we can afford our communities integration,” the MMC said.

Joscho through its CEO, Thedi Moropa, has revealed that more than R133 million was spent on this project, which began in 2019 and was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As mentioned, this project has been a long time coming as it started in November 2019 and was affected by the effects of Covid-19. We are happy that this momentous occasion has come as it is testament to the efforts and patience of all the stakeholders who were involved in this project as more than R133m was spent on this project with more than 150 EPWP jobs created as well as the many SMMEs who were given a platform to upscale their businesses,” he said.

The Star