The handover of the last 34 houses for 2019 took place on schedule this week (October 24) at Greenville Garden City, Fisantekraal, bringing to 1 331, the total number of BNG (breaking new ground) homes occupied in the 767ha new town launched in 2016.

All the recipients of the houses are former backyard dwellers or occupants of informal housing in the area, and have never owned property before. To complete the second phase of the project, another 44 houses will be handed over to their owners next year.

Greenville is one of the 17 major Cape Town residential suburbs for which the 100-year-old non-profit company, Garden Cities, has been responsible.

In the primary phases, of Greenville, its development is a private/public partnership between the City of Cape Town, the Provincial Government of Western Cape and Garden Cities. 

The entire suburb will eventually comprise 16 000 homes across the entire economic spectrum, and include bonded housing.  However, the initial stages are concentrated on providing for people in desperate need of homes. A total of eight  business sites have also been provided for rent to local traders and service providers, and another 4 in the 2nd phase will be sold.

Greenville homeowners are the beneficiaries of individual subsidy that cover their purchase costs. Only approved beneficiaries are eligible for a house.

The collaboration involves provision of applicants from the City of Cape Town’s waiting list, and the approval of the subsidy applications by the Provincial Government, while Garden Cities has provided the land, and undertakes the construction of the houses.  The company also assists the applicants with completing the required application forms and supporting documents, which are submitted to CoCT, from where they are forwarded to the Provincial authorities.

Garden Cities has maintained the construction of an average of 25 to 30 houses a month since inception of the project. The houses are constructed using an innovative material, Benex blocks, invented in Australia. The blocks and associated materials, including panels and roofs, are now produced by previously unskilled and unemployed local people in an Epping factory which also exports the product back to Australia.

All the current phase houses are 42sqm, except for the units for disabled residents that are 45sqm, to provide for disability specifications. Disabled applicants also get an allowance if their disability is endorsed by a qualified doctor.

The commercial sites at Greenville are for rent to local business people and Garden Cities is assisting them through an Enterprise and Supplier Development programme that provides business skills mentorship.

A Community/Youth centre will also be built as part of the first sub-phase, as there is no facility of this kind to service the whole community including the old Fisantekraal.

As part of the community development, the Department of Public works has expressed an interest in acquiring the allocated Primary School site to meet the urgent need for a second primary school in the area. The Department of Public Works is busy with the procurement process and City Health has also bought a site for a Clinic. Various petrol companies are interested in a site for a service station.

So far, the project has created over 100 job opportunities for local residents, who have been employed since the beginning. Some local subcontractors were also afforded an opportunity to participate, although most of the employment was on an individual basis. The next phase will be focused on employing more local subcontractors as opposed to individuals, this is one of the strategies to support small businesses. This phase also offers an opportunity to create more jobs through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as it allows employment on a rotational basis, therefore reaching out to more unemployed people.

As part of its own community development initiative, Garden Cities has been funding some sports activities in the community and there is an excellent synergy between the company’s northern areas residential project Pinehurst, near Durbanville, where swimming and football training facilities have been made available to Fisantekraal and Greenville residents.

Garden Cities has also set up a community improvement programme advocating good citizenship, and leadership as well as entrepreneurial skills, run by a local professional.

A team of volunteers who look after the environmental issues around Greenville have been servicing a mandate to ensure the Mosselbank River corridor that runs through the area, is kept clean. The team also encourages local people to clean up their community and monitors the illegal dumping in the river. This team has since been formalised, with personalised protective equipment and a donated container they use as headquarters. The team has also attended various training programmes, including snake handling.

Group CEO of Garden Cities John Matthews (left) and Thembi Sithole, project co-ordinator at Greenvile Garden city with new homeowner David Sellidon and his wife, with Malusi Booi (Mayco member Human Settlements, on the right)

Image 1 of 6

Posted in Greenville, home.