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31 Mar

Security at Walmer Link Affordable Housing Development

Added by : Linda A van der Mey

On 17 March 2017, this article titled; "Call for action over rampant crime” appeared in the Herald.

Article: Call for action over rampant crime

The article conveys the threat by residents of Walmer Link to stop the next phase of construction if the developer, The Home Market, does not put up a wall to keep criminals out.

This response sets out the facts and provides the context for these events.

The Home Market

The Home Market is a registered not for profit property development company that provides affordable housing to lower income households. It does not generate profits, relies on state subsidies and bank loans, and aims to break even in every development. Through this social imperative and other cost saving measures, The Home Market manages to provide 2 and 3 bedroomed houses at prices as low as R300,000 including VAT. This is not being achieved anywhere else in the Metro or the Province.

Government’s Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) further makes these houses affordable to household’s earning between R3,500 and R15,000 per month. The Home Market assists qualifying individuals to access FLISP subsidies which are then used as deposits to secure Home Loans from commercial banks.

The Walmer Link Affordable Housing Development

The Walmer Link Affordable Housing Development was established by The Home Market as a conventional open suburb, much like Charlo or New Brighton. This means that properties are transferred to new home-owners on a freehold basis and that the remaining public roads and open spaces are transferred to the Municipality and maintained by them. Once the individual houses are transferred, these become the full responsibility of the individual home owners.

It is important to note that this is not a housing complex where the units are owned under sectional title managed by a Body Corporate, or under communal ownership where a Home Owners Association has been established. It should also not be confused with the adjacent social housing complex where three and four storey walk-up apartment blocks are not owned by the tenants but managed by the IMIZI Housing Association at subsidised rentals for those earning an income of between R2500 and R7500 per month.

Security

The security problems experienced at Walmer Link are real. But they are ultimately the responsibility of the individual, together with security provided by organs of state.

Security is a national crisis and solutions are complex. They require broad socio-economic strategies that include determined leadership, education, growing the economy, creating jobs, etc. In the absence of these, individual households unfortunately need to augment security by contracting private security firms, developing a relationship with the nearby police station and setting up a community neighbourhood watch.

The Home Market has made attempts to assist, within its very limited financial means, by:

Residents need to engage the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the newly formed Metro Police regarding regular patrols and quick response times.

The stated intention of the residents of forcing the closure of the building project and stopping the third phase of the development is not a solution. Not only would this deprive other households of becoming home owners but it would reduce the desirability and value of their own properties. It would also end the employment of building workers on the site in an environment where unemployment is already at extremely high levels.

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