First foundation laid for Morkel’s Cottage housing project

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The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority commenced with the construction of 547 semi-detached and detached single-storey houses in Morkel’s Cottage, Strand, today, 27 March 2018. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2019.

‘It gives me great joy to see the start of the Morkel’s Cottage project which has been on the cards since the City purchased the land from the previous owner with the view to implement a housing development on the farm. This development was included in a tender which allowed for the development of three areas, namely Morkel’s Cottage, Temperance Town and Sercor Park,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.

The development of the latter two areas was completed in the 2014/15 financial year. However, the Morkel’s Cottage development was delayed for various reasons including environmental restrictions due to the presence of protected plant species on the site.

The delays were finally resolved in December 2016, and we could proceed with the development of the Morkel’s Cottage portion of the contract in January 2017.

The project is funded via the subsidies that the City receives for each housing opportunity we create. The estimated value of the engineering services for the project is R84 560 000 and the top structures – these are the houses – is R61 394 733.

‘Thus, the total budget for this development is nearly R146 million,’ said Councillor Herron.

A turn-key developer, ASLA DEVCO, was appointed on 26 January 2009 to undertake the project. They completed the Temperance Town and Sercor Park projects and have recently completed the installation of internal engineering services on three of the five phases of the Morkel’s Cottage development.

‘We cannot determine the exact number of top structures until the subsidy administration process, which is currently underway, is completed. This is dependent on the specific criteria that applies to each individual applicant, and which has varying results,’ said Councillor Herron.

The civil engineering services such as the internal roads, water and sewer infrastructure for the first three phases have been completed.

The civil engineering services for phases 4 and 5 will commence in September 2018, followed by the construction of the top structures on those plots, as applicable.

This is a mixed project, meaning that certain sections fall under the City’s Upgrade of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP) and others under the Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP), which is also known as state-subsidised Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing.

In terms of the UISP, the beneficiaries are the residents of the existing informal areas of Morkel’s Cottage, Beverley Hills and Dark City. The remainder of the beneficiaries will be selected via the City’s housing database waiting lists, mostly drawn from the Strand area.

‘The project will seek to prioritise the families from Morkel’s Cottage, which will allow the properties where these beneficiaries are currently situated to be developed as well,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area East, Councillor Anda Ntsodo.

‘This is yet another way that we are showing our residents that we are serious about addressing the housing backlog and providing them with decent and affordable housing opportunities. As such, we have made provision for the inclusion of groups of beneficiaries from smaller target areas, for example from Vlakteplaas, Mossienes and 8th Street, as well as for beneficiaries with special needs – these are residents with disabilities,’ said Councillor Herron.

Beneficiaries are chosen strictly in accordance with National directives and Council policy. In terms of the rules for UISP projects, all of the residents from the informal areas are accommodated in the new project which would enable the appropriate use of the cleared areas.

In terms of the IRDP rules, the beneficiaries for that portion of the development are selected by date of first application for a housing subsidy, as identified from the City’s housing database.

The end-products of the different programmes will differ, depending on the beneficiary selection criteria. These vary from receiving a serviced site only, including ownership; a state-subsidised BNG house where the beneficiary becomes the owner of that house; or a serviced site only where non-qualifying applicants from the informal settlements sign a lease agreement with the City, as the land owner.

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