The sustainability and success of social housing hinges on the partnership between the government and the development’s body corporate, which manages the buildings to ensure that the state’s investments in these projects do not deteriorate. This was the position of the Director of Affordable Housing in the Western Cape Province, Mr Gavin Wiseman, in his briefing of the National Council of Province’s (NCOP’s) delegation during an oversight visit to Anchorage Housing Development Project in Bellville, Western Cape.

The longevity and quality of service of social housing has improved considerably in recent years and the common property is regularly serviced and maintained. The office of Affordable Housing has enlisted the services of cleaners, site manager, liaison officers and leasing administrators to ensure the success of the project.

This has proven to be a success and Mr Wiseman says they have noted a rise in client satisfaction over time.

The Leader of the NCOP Provincial Week Delegation in the Western Cape, Ms Cathlene Labuschagne, asked if the biometric identification devise gives tenants a sense of safety. Mr Wiseman replied that it is indeed an effective deterrent to unsolicited intrusion in these precincts. In fact, he stressed that safety and security are an attractive feature of these gated communities. To reinforce them further “each housing block has its own community leader that gives us weekly feedback on any safety related issues in their vicinity. And there are strict fines to reinforce good and deter disorderly behaviour,” he explained.

Ms Labuschagne further asked to whom the housing agents are accountable. The Managing Director of Urban Status Rentals (the body corporate that manages Anchorage social houses), Mr Heinrich Enhlers, explained that Urban Status is accountable to the Social Housing Regulatory Authority. The authority must undertake a thorough and rigorous oversight process, in which Urban Status must submit annual statements, quarterly reports, key performance areas, expenditure and annual business plan for scrutiny.

Mr Enhlers went on to say that matters related to non-compliance on the part of tenants, occupancy rate or any other operational aspect that fall within our ambit as a body corporate must also be reported to the regulatory authority.

 Body corporates are critical to the success of social housing ventures and the quality of life of their tenants, Mr Wiseman emphasised.  

Abel Mputing
1 April 2022