Zille and Nielson praise new social housing success

At the ceremonial ribbon cutting and handover of keys at Olive Close in Melkbosch Village at Melkbosstrand, were (from right to left) Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, the first home recipient, Margaret Erasmus, Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Nielson, Ishmail Essa, CEO of Asrin and Nizaam Essa, MD of Asrin.

A new era in “subsidised” housing was ushered in recently when Asrin Property Developers handed over the first 34 units in its subsidised Olive Close social housing component (destined to have 100 units) at Melkbosch Village in Melkbosstrand.

The handover was attended by Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, who said that she “could not resist coming to take a look at” the project which had been close to her heart for some time.

Zille said that when she was Mayor of Cape Town she and her housing team had investigated new ways of financing much needed quality housing for those who could not afford it.

“We talked to the banks and to private developers,” she said, “and it became clear that cross-subsidisation could provide an answer. This project is the first to show that cross-subsidisation can be highly effective.”

The Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Nielson, said that the project had been conceived eight years ago and the council had to work through several challenges before they were satisfied that they had the correct formula. Zille, he said, had helped “unlock” the solution.

The model that evolved here, he said, had involved both the developer of the larger free enterprise project and the Province contributing to the cost of the new units – in this case the developers’ input has totalled some R100 000 per unit. Asrin, he said, had been the right developers for the project because their tender had conformed to all the stipulated rulings ensuring the delivery of a quality product.

Alderman Nielson added that this project is the first in the Western Cape to be “fully integrated” into a more upmarket precinct and he congratulated the people of Melkbosstrand for being prepared to accept this. Those from disadvantaged communities now moving in would, he said, face some challenges in adapting but ongoing work by the developer and Council’s social facilitators had already smoothed the path here.

Gaff Khan, Director of Asrin, who was MC for the function, said that Asrin were humbled by their involvement in such a noble project and thanked the architect for the scheme, Mike Wolters, who cleverly maintained the same look and aesthetics on the subsidised houses as was used on the more upmarket units.

The 148 people attending the handover then accompanied the visiting dignitaries and the first home recipient, Margaret Erasmus, to a ceremonial ribbon cutting and key handover.

The new houses all have open plan living, dining and kitchen areas, one bathroom and two bedrooms. All come with already approved plans for a third bedroom which the new owners can add on as and when it suits them.

Ishmail Essa, CEO of Asrin said that the development had been 100% successful so far and, although it had cost Asrin, the subsidies should be recovered down the line.

Article by: www.asrin.co.za