News / South Africa

Chantelle Fourie
2 minute read
20 Jul 2018
9:56 am

70 prefab units provide housing for inner-city destitute

Chantelle Fourie

The City says the new accommodation is improving the lives of people who were previously removed from buildings in the Johannesburg CBD.

MMC for Housing Meshack van Wyk, Zanele Malusi, project manager and Emmanuel Sotomi, director of housing all excited with the progression of the prefabricated emergency accommodation units. Photo. Sibonelo Mtshali/Southern Courier

The City of Johannesburg’s new Housing MMC, Meshack van Wyk, recently paid a visit to former inner-city residents who have been housed in the south of the city, Northcliff Melville Times reports.

Van Wyk said the recently completed prefabricated accommodation follows a court order in July last year, which instructed the City to house people who were evicted from Fattis Mansion by October this year.

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The other residents who were provided for were affected by a fire at Cape York building in the inner city, he said.

The City initially provided temporary emergency accommodation. After considering the unsustainable living conditions in the tents, the housing department resolved to provide 70 prefabricated units, explained Van Wyk.

“It gives me great pleasure to receive a written acknowledgement of the work done from Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri), who had taken us to court on the matter of allocating their clients into this temporary emergency accommodation.”

Seri released a statement after the eviction last year, saying the courts refused to allow the evicted back into the Fattis building for the sake of their safety.

“But since they have been evicted, the residents have slept on the streets for two nights and been shot at by the police. That is not safe,” the statement read.

Earlier this year, the institute also said the City doesn’t act on its own in providing residents with much-needed accommodation, but that organisations like Seri have to obtain court orders to force the City to act.

Van Wyk went on to say the City recognises the need to provide indigent residents with the dignity of a place to live, work and play.

“A major challenge towards providing safe and affordable housing in the inner city is the poor living conditions of approximately 30 000 residents residing in bad buildings,” he said.

In response to this, the council has approved 71 City-owned properties that Meshack said will contribute towards developing affordable social housing, student accommodation and small business premises. This adds to 13 other properties which were made available for the same purpose late last year.

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