A notch above RDP

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

A stone's throw away from a squatter camp in Kliptown, south of Soweto, stands the upmarket Kliptown Flats.

The two-storey flats, painted in white and red, are the rental housing stock the Johannesburg Housing Company, the City of Johannesburg's private housing component, introduced to house middle-income groups.

The flats which were launched in July last year are an alternative to RDP housing.

They are built next to the famous Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, the venue where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. The Freedom Charter is the ANC's guiding document.

The flats have given a new face to the once-neglected Kliptown.

With well-manicured lawns, security guards manning the gates 24 hours, designated parking spaces and satellite TV dishes attached to the outer walls of every apartment, this place is not for the poor.

Moipone Raekwa, from Moletsane in Soweto, who has lived in the flats for the past eight months said she was happy because the complex exuded security.

"Though we will move out to buy a bigger house one day, I am happy with the conditions here," Raekwa said.

"There is no crime because there is a 24-hour security. I think the R997 we pay for rental is a fair price."

She, her husband and their child live in a one-room flat.

Asked if she would stay in a RDP house, Raekwa said: "There is nothing wrong with staying in a RDP house.

"We chose to come here because we can afford to do so.

"Those who can afford to pay rent have an advantage over those living in the RDP houses because the conditions are better here," said Raekwa

But Angelique McPherson, another tenant who has lived in the Kliptown Flats since last year, said the rent was high.

"This is not a suburb but a township," said McPherson.

"Paying R1200 for rental in such an area is too much."

McPherson and her husband are renting a two-room flat. She said before she rented the flat she was living at the nearby Eldorado Park.

"There has never been any crime reported since we moved here. The place is quiet and peaceful," she said.

Anna Adam, who moved to the property two weeks ago, said she was also pleased about the high level of security.