Earlier this week, Daily Maverick published an article by Jared Sacks exposing some of the suffering experienced by those seeking adequate housing in the Western Cape. Here, in the interests of debate, is the response from the Housing Development Agency.
The article by Jared Sacks (Daily Maverick, 8 May 2013) provides informative insight into the complexities of low-cost housing initiatives in areas such as the one underway in Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town.
In doing so, however, the article provides just one of the many perspectives which exist on the problems facing the community, and the solutions which have been developed by the various role-players – including local, provincial and national government, the community themselves, and non-governmental organisations.
As the Housing Development Agency (HDA), we have been involved in the Joe Slovo development since the agency was formed in 2009, and would appreciate the opportunity to provide additional context to Jared Sacks’ article – as well as setting the record straight on a number of issues.
Finally, the community dynamics in Joe Slovo are complex and are complicated by the number of structures that profess to represent residents. Historically, there have been three representative structures in Joe Slovo: Intersite, a Task Team, and a Residents’ Committee. Besides this, there is now a newly emergent group calling themselves the Area Committee. One of the key critics of the allocation process in Jared Sacks’ article, Mzimasi Ntwanambi, for example, is a former member of the Task Team. He has now crossed over to the Area Committee.
The events that played out earlier this week, and which are reflected in your article, are a clear demonstration of the tensions between the different representative structures – and of the complexities of providing a housing solution that meets the expectations of all parties.
Kate Shand, Communications, The Housing Development Agency DM
"Sometimes the best way to help someone is just to be near them." ~ Veronica Roth
"Men are good in one way, but bad in many" ~ Aristotle