Housing reality

 “It is better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted by lies”.

On 17th Oct I attended a ward safety and security meeting in Athlone that confirmed what is already well-known. Criminals from Hanover Park, Vygieskraal and other pockets of poverty continue to terrorize the nearby middle class suburbs of Pinati, Lansdowne, Crawford, Mount View, Ryland’s etc.

Evidently, a few criminals can terrorize a large population and then walk home. Thus criminals from Hanover Park, Vygieskraal and Manenberg will continue to terrorize Athlone and its nearby suburbs.

Why am I stating the obvious?

Answer: The upper classes do not want the poor living nearby. The annual crime statistics is an indication from where criminality originate and these stats are increasing annually.

Capetonian can either accept the reality of gentrification (urban renewal) for profit or deceive themselves into believing that social integration (housing the poor in the City) is financially possible.

Hence the headline “City hikes council houses’ rent” 21 October requires scrutiny. Example, is it reasonable to expect to live in municipal housing near the City and then pay R250 a month rent?

Both the ANC and DA opted for a class centered capitalist system that discriminate based on income. Both governing political parties had opportunity but maintained the status-quo for 25 yrs. Since these parties rule, it implies that the electorate who voted must agree with this class based system.

Since Capetonians require jobs, we need urban renewal. Since any new infrastructure development create jobs, we must reconsider needless heritage issues. Few people want to live in a decrepit or shabby milieu and heritage buildings require more upkeep compared to a demolition and rebuild. What is required is the modernization of heritage buildings via complete rebuilds, keeping the key architectural value. Woodstock and Salt River for example is filled with rat infested buildings with corroding substructure. The way forward is a demolition and rebuild to rid the area of the rats etc.

Capetonians must be realistic. Mass housing the poor inside the city is unlikely as land cost and property taxes are costly. Already the cities rental income is utilized to uplift the poor. When a poor person is housed in the city, below market rental, they are actually taking from another poor person who could have benefited from the rental income via the building of a low cost house. The middle class, (many of whom) themselves cannot afford to live inside the city, cannot be expected to support the poor financially who ironically want to live inside the city?

Reality suggests that beggars cannot be choosers.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress