From Noetzie’s reservoir to Fisherhaven, a much-needed housing project is on its way for Hornlee in Knysna.
The first phase will erect 359 houses, approximately one-third of the target:
- 40m² BNG units (less R3500 salary earners) – 92
- FLISP (T3501-18000 salary earners) – 267 bonded units
- Open Market (above R18001 salary earners) – not determined
Coincidentally, I was asked the previous day what RDP housing means and was unable to answer despite it being such a common acronym. A Google search responded with “Reconstruction and Development Programme”. BNG was RDP upgraded and means “Breaking New Ground”. However, the more positive term has never caught on and RDP has entered the South African lexicon as “low-cost housing”.
Knysna Municipality has appointed ABSA DevCo as its development partner. ABSA DevCo answered questions in the Section 80 Planning, Development & Infrastructure Committee Meeting which was held yesterday, Wednesday, November 12 in Council Chambers.
ABSA stated that the BNG portion of this project was their idea but Councillor Elrick van Aswegen (COPE) said that it was the result of pressure from the Hornlee community. ABSA rebutted by saying that they’d included it before any community discussions.
Louisa Hart (DA), the Chairperson of this Section 80 committee, expressed her worry that a development for low-cost housing could allow developers to purchase and resell for profit, thus pushing up prices and diverting the goal of affordable housing. ABSA DevCo answered poorly by saying that it was unlikely, for example, for a developer to buy 5 houses in the current (meaning challenged) market.
Councillor Stephen de Vries (ANC) backed up Hart by saying that there are those in Knysna who can afford to buy several properties with the intention of driving the price upwards. He said that it must be stipulated that buyers are residents of Knysna and only purchase one house each.
Mike Maughan-Brown, the town’s planner, said that private companies (meaning ABSA DevCo) cannot be expected to ensure such in the long run. He said that BNG housing had proven difficult across South Africa but that they’d work on first option criteria.
As the BNG housing segment of this project is all duplexes, it won’t help those elderly and handicapped who are in need. It also won’t assist racial integration, as required by the IDP and ISDF, unless there’s major marketing across the whole of Knysna as Hornlee is well known as a “coloured area” despite the official end of apartheid 20 years ago.
The environmental authorisation was gained in November 2013. Knysna Municipality approved town planning in August 2014. Submittance for funding from the Province was sent last month.
The development is expected to start in June 2015.