The City of Cape Town’s Housing Needs Register is the first step for qualifying residents to be considered for a variety of affordable housing opportunities across the metro. Here are some tips, dos and don’ts, and things to look out for. Importantly, no-one should ask you for money to be placed on the Register. If this happens, it is a scam.

National Department of Human Settlement

Image credit: National Department of Human Settlement

Qualifying beneficiaries are placed on the Register and when opportunities become available, beneficiaries are allocated opportunities in accordance with the Allocation Policy. The system is highly regulated to ensure that there is fairness and a systematic approach as the need for affordable housing in South Africa is pronounced. Residents should therefore be aware of potential scammers who seek to take advantage of vulnerable residents wanting to place their names on the Register. The City reminds its residents that they do not need to pay to register, or to receive a State-subsidised unit if they are a qualifying beneficiary. If you are being asked to pay for a place on the Register, or a plot of land that belongs to the City, it is illegal and it is a scam.

“Residents should be aware of potential scammers who seek to take advantage of vulnerable residents wanting to place their names on the Register.”

Residents should also be aware of syndicates that ‘sell’ land that does not belong to them, such as City-owned land or the lucrative criminal act of ‘shack farming’. Most of Cape Town’s recent unlawful occupations have been orchestrated by ‘shack farming’ syndicates or others enabling large unlawful occupations. Stealing land in this manner, steals opportunities from those who are registered on the Register and from beneficiaries that are in the process of receiving their affordable housing opportunity. Queue-jumping for housing opportunities and services is unacceptable.

The City considers housing opportunities on a first-come, first-served basis, and takes age and special needs into consideration. The City’s housing opportunities include City-owned rental accommodation, social housing, and state-subsidised Breaking New Ground (BNG) homes.

Beneficiaries of all City housing projects are allocated in accordance with the City’s Allocation Policy: Housing Opportunities and the Housing Needs Register. This ensures that housing opportunities to those in need are provided in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.

The City encourages interested residents to register on the Housing Needs Register online, visit the nearest housing office, register at a MyEstate mobile office when they are in your area, or at our Parow and Wale Street Walk-in centres.

Once residents have successfully registered, it is important to check and keep personal details updated when necessary. Please make sure that your identity number, marital status, residential address, contact details and household income remains accurate. It is also important to inform the City if anyone in the household has a permanent physical disability. This is important so that the City may contact successful applicants to inform them about any available housing opportunities.

Applicants often ask how the selection for projects works, how some applicants are selected for specific BNG projects and why they are not considered for projects outside of their area.

Applicants considered for rental opportunities may reside anywhere within the metro and have an option of indicating their areas of preference, including the unit type and size. These applicants are contacted based on their areas of preference, unit type and based on the date on which they applied.

On the other hand, applicants considered for BNG opportunities are selected in terms of their area of residence as provided to the City, and in line with the approved Allocation Request Form. This form specifies the percentage of applicants assisted per source area (selected for consideration in a project) and as well as the percentage of applicants on the Housing Needs Register residing outside of the specific source area.

Other available options include:

  • Non-credit linked subsidy: For household income between R0 and R3 500. This subsidy is for applicants who wish to buy an existing house or plot that must be linked to the construction of a house. The applicant must be on the City’s Housing Needs Register for at least 10 years.
  • Credit-linked subsidy: To qualify for additional assistance, the applicant must have a loan from a recognised financial institution. This is administered by the Western Cape Government. For more information:
  • Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP): For those who earn between R 3 501 and R22 000.00. Applicants need not be on the City’s Housing Needs Register. The requirement of the programme is that an applicant must obtain a mortgage loan to qualify to purchase an existing house or a plot linked to a building contract. This is administered by the Western Cape Government.

‘The selections of beneficiaries for all of our housing projects is done in accordance with the City’s Allocation Policy and the City’s Housing Needs Register to ensure that housing opportunities are allocated to qualifying beneficiaries in a fair and equitable manner, that prevents queue-jumping. All State-subsidised housing projects include beneficiaries with permanent disabilities as well as the elderly. We encourage residents to please keep their details up to date so that available housing opportunities are not missed.

‘The City spends almost all the budget it receives for housing and it will continue to hand over homes to the most vulnerable residents across the city over the coming months. This week, we checked on the progress of the R85 million Masiphumelele Phase 4 and the R74 million Greenville housing projects. The City will remain committed to providing homes to residents in well-located areas close to public transport, jobs, government services and public amenities.

‘We have drafted a Human Settlements Strategy that sets out the challenge and proposes a way forward to enable the delivery of more opportunities. This is especially important if we are to find ways to tackle the housing challenges, amid national budget cuts and greater demand for affordable accommodation due to the bad state of the national economy. The City cannot solve the housing challenge on its own. We need more partners, innovation, and national reform of our housing regime to become more resilient to the growing need for affordable housing and the impacts of urbanisation. We encourage all residents to look at the strategy that is out for public participation and to comment because we are all in this together,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi.

For more information about registering or updating your details on the Housing Needs Register, call 021 444 0333.