Residents want councillor out of rental unit

Abeda Jacobs in front of her shack in Heideveld. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare

Allegations of housing corruption have been made against Ward 44 councillor in Cape Town by members of the community who have been on the City’s housing list for years while Councillor Anthony Moses has been living in a Community Rental Unit since 2011. As a councillor, they say, his income should disqualify him from residency there.

Heideveld, Cape Town, South Africa

Heideveld community is up in arms against the local government councillor for ward 44 who is occupying 1 Daphne Court, Heideveld, one of the Community Rental Units (CRU).

According to the community the councillor has been occupying the house since 2011. The community believes it is against the City’s CRU policy.

In an email response,  Mayoral Committee member for Assets and Facilities Management, Councillor Stuart Diamond, confirms that Councillor Anthony Moses is a tenant at the house.

“He is being charged a surcharged rental as per Council’s Policy,” says Diamond, adding that the City is currently looking into the conditions of the lease agreement.

The CRU policy is made to accommodate tenants with a monthly joint income greater than R3,500 but less than R10,000. Anyone earning in excess of R10 000 is not accommodated by the policy.

Speaking to Elitsha over the phone, Rukia Williams, one of the community members claiming to have been denied a house on the CRU programmme says, “This is surprising. I have been on the City’s housing data list since 1989 so when the the city rolled out this programme I thought I would be one of the beneficiaries. Who is supposed to benefit?: me and/or the councillor?”

Williams stayed in a backyard in Heideveld then later moved to Mannenberg where she is again living in a shack.

“My husband and I are not working. We live from well wishers’ gifts. Imagine five of us staying in one room, this is unheard off,” says Williams.

Also from Heideveld, Abeda Jacobs (48) says, “I do not know what to do. The councillor has no mercy on us. We are five staying in one room. There is no electricity. We had no toilet for almost eight years till we decided to build our own which does not flush. So we throw in buckets of water to let it work.”

Jacobs first registered herself on the City Housing Database in 2006 but finding she there was no record, she had to register again in 2009.

“I approached the councillor several times and have been told I do not qualify for any of these houses yet I am not employed,” says Jacobs.

She says that before erecting their own toilet, they had to either use their brother’s facility which is a house away or use any open space nearby when only it is dark at night.

Isaac De Jongh, a community leader says the Ward 44 councillor’s occupation of the house violates the CRU housing policy and depriving the poor.

“The councillor is serving his second term in office but still occupies the CRU house. City of Cape Town should have already made the councillor vacate in 2013,” says Jongh.

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About Bernard Chiguvare 44 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.