Randall Williams at sod-turning of R131m housing project for 600 units in Tshwane north

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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has made another investment to bring people closer to economic nodes by launching the construction of the Chantelle Social Housing Project in the north of Tshwane.

Executive Mayor Randall Williams and MMC for Human Settlements Abel Tau officiated the sod-turning of the R131 million project expected to bring 600 mixed-use units in its first phase, and complement the City's efforts to create environments that are conducive for businesses to create jobs.

Williams was particularly pleased to see the wheel turning positively in so far as commencing the development of such housing projects because the missing middle was almost neglected since the grants received from national and provincial government were used to build RDP houses - which meant the missing middle earned enough not to meet the criteria, but also not enough to qualify for a house loan from a bank.

Subsequently, the City faced increasing demand for housing that is close and within the 30km radius of economic nodes and opportunities.

"In addressing this, the most viable approach adopted by the department is offering a combination of services to existing settlements while also investing in new development and social housing projects to accommodate a large percentage of the growing housing demand.

"Currently we have three main social housing projects that are set to benefit Tshwane residents. Namely we have this Chantelle project for 600 units, the Timberlands project with 607 units and the Townlands project with 1 200 units.

"These projects will offer mixed units for young families and urban economically active residents. It would be managed by our Housing Company Tshwane.

"The target group was Tshwane residents who did not qualify for government-sponsored housing nor earn enough to qualify for home loans, earning between R1 500 and R15 000 per month. This is what is referred to as the missing middle group."

Williams said the City was also working with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements to address the backlog on the National Housing Needs Register, which is currently at 210 000 for Tshwane.

Tau said it was exciting to have been part of the team that unlocked this development, especially because for a long time leaders played lip service to the idea that the missing middle would finally have places to live closer to economic nodes to curb high costs of transport.

He said people in areas in the north of Tshwane, like Mabopane, Klipgat, Odinburg and Soshanguve, would find such developments highly important because they spend too much money on transport but they are still subjected to high traffic volumes on the Mabopane Highway on their way to work.

Senior project management for the JBP Group tasked with the construction of the development said they were given 24 months to complete the job and they have already employed 66 local members of the community but their intention is to empower at least 400 local people, including local subcontractors.

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