Cape's housing list is years out of date

The City of Cape Town's waiting list for homes is so out of date the city does not know whether people on it are dead or alive.

The housing department has not updated its waiting list in the "past few years".

The list has been a target of criticism in the past few weeks because long-term residents on it felt their housing needs were being ignored. Instead, they said, the city gave preference for housing to migrants who had just arrived.

A spokesperson for the housing department, Andries Cornelissen, acknowledged that the list was outdated and was causing some problems for the department, because it did not give an accurate total of people waiting.

"It's one of the problems that we have because the list is old and it has not been updated on a regular basis like before. The information has not been updated in the past few years because we do not have staff to do that," he said.

"The plan is to have a single updated list."

According to Cornelissen, people on the list who manage to secure housing are taken off the list.

But this is not always the case.

Willem Smit, who lives with his wife, Elice, in the backyard of their daughter's Delft home, has been on the Oostenberg housing waiting list for 15 years and for the past three has been at the top.

He bought a house in Kraaifontein in 1995, but despite now owning a property his name was not taken off the list.

His house was repossessed three years ago after he could not make the payments. He returned to the department of housing to check where he was on the Oostenberg list and discovered he was at No 1.

There are several lists, one for each administration, including Helderberg, South Peninsula, Oostenberg, Blaauwberg, Tygerberg and Cape Town.

These lists will now be compiled in a single database, but there is no indication when this will be finished.

The single database will allow people to choose which administration they would prefer to live in, unlike the current system that restricts people to the administration they are registered with.

The lists are only for council houses and not for subsidies.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus on March 07, 2005

Article by : By Bulelani Phillip and Candice Bailey