Number increasing daily in Western Cape

With housing a burning issue in Dunoon where protestors are angry over service delivery, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements has confirmed a backlog of at least 521 000 households in need of housing in the province.

Of this number, approximately 400 000 of them are registered on the City of Cape Town’s housing database. Many of them live in informal settlements, backyard dwellings, council-owned houses and private properties.

The flare-up violence in Dunoon on Monday saw protestors stoning cars and looting shops belonging to foreign nationals amid their protests over service delivery, including housing.

Protesters were unhappy with the city’s response to a .memorandum of grievances from backyard dwellers handed to the city earlier this month. As the violence continued yesterday, law enforcement and police maintained a strong presence.

Last month, protests were sparked after Dunoon backyard dwellers, who moved onto a piece of land along the N7, were evicted by the city. Their structures were demolished, prompting further unrest.

The number of people needing houses is increasing almost on a daily basis. Due to urbanisations, people move to bigger cities, not necessarily to get houses, but for the economic opportunities.

People incorrectly assumed that every informal settlement was an indication of a housing need. “People leave their decent homes to go to cities to look for employment opportunities, not necessarily houses. It is not surprising then, that many people sell or rent these houses in order to put food on the table.”

The city created up to 10 000 housing opportunities a year, included rental options, serviced sites and subsidised houses. By the end of June last year, the city had transferred more than 14 100 historic title deeds to previously disadvantaged residents.

But the city was also grappling with up to 45 000 backyard dwellers residing on council property.

The city is the only metro in the country that has a programme to extend services to backyard dwellers living on council-owned properties. This is due to the steep growth of the number of backyard dwellers over the past decade.


Gadeeja Abbas – Staff Reporter at Cape Argus