Joe Slovo Women's Forum Want Houses Not Flats

Community members call for new steering committee for N2 Gateway housing project

By Mary-Anne Gontsana

The Joe Slovo Women’s Forum in Langa is unhappy with the N2 Gateway housing project. The forum wants houses and not flats, claiming there is a lack of communication from the provincial Department of Human Settlements. The forum is also calling for a new steering committee for the housing project.

Forum member Mimimi Xontelo said the initial agreement with the department a few years ago was for houses, but instead flats are being built.

Mimimi showed GroundUp a single-storey house joined to flats on each side of it. “This is what we are talking about. Why can’t they build stand-alone houses? Why must the houses be between flats?” asks Nothobile Fayo, a resident and member of the forum.

But Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, spokesperson for Western Cape Human Settlements Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela, said the reason for flats is to accommodate as many Joe Slovo beneficiaries as possible.

However Xontelo says: “When we questioned why they were building flats, we were told because there was not enough land to build houses. We find that very strange because as you can see, Joe Slovo is huge.” She explains that the department says not all the land will be used for housing, but “when we enquire about what else will be done, we get no answers.”

The N2 Gateway Housing project is a joint initiative between the National Department of Human Settlements, the Provincial Department of Human Settlements and the City of Cape Town for the people of Joe Slovo informal settlement and those previously moved from Joe Slovo to temporary relocation areas.