“I'm very happy that in my lifetime I've been able to own a property that I can call my own,” says 78-year-old Esther Makondo.
The former domestic worker and shack dweller expressed her elation as she proudly took occupancy of her new RDP home in Fleurhof Extension 2, a new residential area southwest of Johannesburg developed by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with Calgro M3
Covering a 440ha area in the City's Region C, Fleurhof Extension 2 is one of the largest integrated housing developments in Gauteng.
Makondo was one of almost 461 families who were allocated their new homes by the City's Housing Department over the past two months.
Winner of the 2014 Govan Mbeki Awards' Best Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) category, the 9 600-unit housing project was completed earlier this year and already thousands of happy homeowners have taken occupation of their new homes.
According to Project Manager Phumzile Skosana, the project largely addresses the needs of three categories of home-seekers: those living in informal settlements, holders of the C1996-1997 certificates and "special cases".
C1996-1997-certificate holders are residents who have been on the housing waiting list since 1996, whereas the term "special cases" refers to the elderly, the disabled and former domestic workers resident in the area.
Also included in this group are former residents of the Fleurhof Men’s Hostel.
Some of the units are aimed at the GAP market - residents who earn "too much" to qualify for RDP houses but "too little" to qualify for bonded homes.
This entry-level affordable housing starts at the R261 000 price range.
The Fleurhof housing project consists of high-rise density units, with each consisting of two bedrooms, a kitchen, an open space lounge or dining hall and a toilet.
A total of 3 004 units were reserved for “give-aways”. Despite their categorisation as low-cost housing, homeowners are not expected to pay.
The balance - 6 996 units - is rental stock .
“The aim of the City of Joburg is to eradicate all forms of informal settlements,” says Skosana .
“Another housing project is currently under way in Matholeville, Roodepoort. The only difference with that one, however, is that we build on the site where the informal housing structure stands, which is called “in-situ” upgrade" she says.
"This does render the project slightly slower in terms of turnaround time. But there can be no question about what we want to achieve, which is to wipe out informal settlement in the area.”