High-rise flats for the homeless

THE City of Cape Town is planning to build 14-storey blocks of flats in a bid to beat its massive housing backlog.

THE City of Cape Town is planning to build 14-storey blocks of flats in a bid to beat its massive housing backlog.

City housing director Hans Smit said yesterday that the buildings would be grouped in a "town" around facilities such as shops, community centres and schools.

There would be about 200 housing units in each block and from 5000 to 6000 units in each town.

About 400000 people in Cape Town need houses. The city says 87percent of those living in shacks and backyard rooms earn less than R3500 a month.

Between 18000 and 20000 families seek accommodation every year but the city was only building 10000 units annually.

Smit said 10000 hectares of land would be needed to eliminate the housing backlog.

Mzwanele Zulu of the Joe Slovo Task Team, which organises the informal settlement residents in Langa, said they had to consult the people first.

Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign coordinator Mncedisi Twalo, who represents backyard dwellers, said: "It is not in our culture to stay in flats. We need houses so that we can practice our customs."

He warned that residents would resist being moved.

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