In line with their commitment to building a caring city, the City of Cape Town has initiated a programme of redress aimed at correcting the wrongs of the past.
One of those wrongs was the decision by National Government to build RDP houses without ceilings.
Between 1994 and 2005, State-subsidised housing units were constructed without insulated ceilings and weather-proofing as this was not included in the RDP subsidy provided by the National Government at the time.
Living without a ceiling has caused residents great discomfort, as they are affected by the poor thermal performance of the homes, damp conditions, and inferior internal air quality giving rise to health problems.
After 2005, the policy was changed and ceilings were included in the subsidy for all new RDP houses.
However, in the City of Cape Town, we had not forgotten about those who were still without a proper roof over their heads.
They have decided to conduct a retrofitting pilot project – a process whereby houses would be fitted with insulated ceilings and weather walls would be weather-proofed.
This project is one of their many redress projects to reverse the wrongs of apartheid and of the recent past.
The initial pilot project was implemented in Mamre, where 260 ceilings were installed. Other pilots were conducted in Kuyasa and Khayelitsha.
There are currently 40 000 RDP subsidy houses in the city without ceilings and weather-proofing.
With City funding and capital raised from the Green Fund, their large-scale retrofitting programme will be rolled out to all 40 000 units at a cost of R400 million.
This week, the ceiling retrofitting programme will start in Kalkfontein (300 units), Lwandle (400), Vrygrond (1 600) and Wesbank (1 000).
The City has secured around R133,6 million for the first phase of this redress initiative, comprising 8 000 units.
In this phase, the City will spend approximately R91,6 million and the remainder of the funding has been received from the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s Green Fund.
Phase One of the programme is currently under way in Eureka Estate, where 250 units will be retrofitted at a cost of R4,1 million.
Since the beginning of this month, more than 80 units have been completed.
The community has also welcomed the improvements.
One resident, Christo Steenbok, who has been living in his house for 15 years, said: “Compared with how it looked before, we are really happy with the new ceiling. It’s a blessing and we thank the City for this”.
Another resident, Surefah de Klerk, said: “We are very happy and grateful for this; before we had many problems with leaks. I really appreciate that the City is fixing this”.
This large-scale retrofit project has health, social, and environmental benefits. It will also improve residents’ quality of life, as well as the indoor and outdoor air quality, while also alleviating energy costs.
Underscoring their commitment to building an opportunity city, this project will promote skills development and local employment as it is estimated that the ceiling retrofitting of the 8 000 homes will create around 800 job opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme.
The City’s thermally efficient retrofitting programme also supports theirnclimate change actions to improve energy efficiency through a reduction in carbon emissions and electricity consumption.
For the 8 000 units which will be retrofitted with insulated ceilings, there will a reduction of approximately 5 600 tonnes of carbon per annum.
Based on the current tariffs, residents in these 8 000 homes will save a total of R5,8 million per annum in electricity costs.