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WC Human Settlements MEC taken to task over housing waiting list

Community representatives voiced their dissatisfaction with numerous housing issues and became even more frustrated when not everyone got a chance to pose questions to Simmers at the backyarders summit.

A man makes a point during the backyarders summit at the Castle of Good Hope on 29 August 2019. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town backyarders have told Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers to go back to the drawing board to tackle housing problems.

Simmers attended a backyarders summit facilitated by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Thursday.

The HRC also invited the City of Cape Town and the national human settlements department, but no representatives attended.

Community representatives voiced their dissatisfaction with numerous housing issues and became even more frustrated when not everyone got a chance to pose questions to Simmers.

Many didn't have high hopes that this engagement would result in their demands for housing being met.

"Mr Simmers we have got a history of engaging your department leading to empty promises," one man vented.

A woman said: "I'm sick and tired of this government. Help our people with houses and land."

"I'd like to know why Delft backyard dwellers don't have first privilege to move into our house built in our area?" another represenative asked.

Meanwhile, Simmers who has only been in office as MEC for Human Settlements for more than three months now has highlighted his department's plans for housing for the province.

One major point he has raised were plans to update their details about how many people are on the waiting list.

"We are busy with a plan. During the month of October and November, we are going to roll out a benficiary verification registration drive with an emphasis on finding out how many backyarders there are on the benficiary waiting list because you can only be a beneficiary of the state if you are on the waiting list."