Cape Town - The City of Cape Town on Thursday launched its biggest housing project to date - the On The Vlei (Market Housing) & New Horizons (GAP Housing) in Pelican Park.
A total of 3 200 houses will be built for different income groups by Power Construction (Pty) Ltd on the 80 ha site.
The project will help the province make a dent in its housing waiting list, which Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said was 500 000-strong.
"It's an enormous number. We won't be able to meet that demand for decades," she said.
Reviewing the history of the project, Zille said it had been a long time coming, starting when she was still Mayor of Cape Town, some seven years ago.
At that time, there had been a land invasion in Grassy Park. Intervening in the situation, she said, she had stated much to the horror of officials, that land would have to be found for housing.
The site in the Pelican Park/Zeekoevlei area was selected. The process that followed could only be described as a nightmare, she said, adding that title deeds were supposed to have been handed over in March 2012.
"The Power Group rescued us from a very difficult situation.''
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said that when she had first mentioned the Pelican Park development to the Premier about two months ago, "she didn't want to hear about Pelican Park".
However, the two of them visited the project a few weeks ago and were happy with the progress now being made.
"We are able to look forward to this project providing houses to 3 200 families in what will be the first integrated housing project in Cape Town."
Power Group chairman Graham Power said his mother-in-law had once asked him if he would be prepared to live in the new housing project. His answer was and is: "I'm proud of what is presented here. I would live here."
It has been projected that the full project would be completed over a period of five years, but he was confident that it could be done in three. He also predicted that every available house would be snapped up soon.
He said getting involved in housing and affordable housing wasn't a highly profitable venture. "But building houses isn't about the money only. One thing that gives me the biggest joy is to see a 70-year-old lady receiving the keys to her first home."
The landmark development includes more than 2100 Breaking New Ground (BNG) state-subsidised houses, 696 single storey semi-detached GAP houses selling from R290 000, 63 double storey House Shop (residents can operate a small business/shop) selling from R288 000, and 359 Open Market units selling from R480 000.
The BNG units will be offered to qualifying beneficiaries drawn from the City's housing waiting list.