Thursday, March 30, 2006

12 People die in improper housing fire

A workshop which went up in flames in Johannesburg on Wednesday, killing 12 people, was not suitable for accommodation, now legal experts have called on the Johannesburg metro council to provide safe and viable housing alternatives for poor migrant workers who live in the city after a fire at an abandoned workshop in the CBD that left 12 people dead.

Shaun O'Shea, marketing manager for Region 8 of the inner city, said the two-storey workshop had only been converted into a living area in the past few weeks. He said if the building had been inspected, it would have been earmarked for closure.

Another 33 of about 150 people who lived in the unused workshop were injured in the fire.

"If anything this tragic event demonstrates the city's dismal failure to deal productively with unsafe living conditions. The city has to start providing real alternatives," said Wilson.

Gauteng housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane expressed shock at the death of the people in the inferno. Full Story
The Special Advisor to Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu regards these deaths mearly as statistics and does not see them in relation to the problem of housing, and or the human habitat to which he is the special advisor.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

One killed in Cape shack fires

The ongoing fires in informal settlements on the Cape Peninsula have claimed another victim. Cape Town Fire says an adult was killed when a shack was gutted late last night in Site C, Khayelitsha.

In another blaze, 16 informal structures were razed to the ground in a blaze in Philippi. There were no fatalities or injuries in this fire.About 50 people were displaced as a result. Disaster Management has already taken care of the fire victims. The cause of the fires is not yet known. SABC

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fire razes 12 homes in Langa

Twelve shacks and a spaza shop were razed by a fire in Langa on Monday. Residents said a paraffin stove had fallen over, sparking the blaze.

Thembeka Dike and her eight children, whose shack stood beside that in which the fire broke out, lost all they possessed. The remains of a textbook, Successful Geography, lay amid the ruins as Dike sifted through the charred debris for what she could salvage.

"We have nowhere to go," said a desperate Dike.

We have lost everything."Next door Gideon Ntunta, 27, who has two children, lost his spaza shop. "There were two fridges in there." Next door to him, Siyabulela Mqvela, 25, and his pregnant girlfriend lost their home. Cape Times

Weeds / Cannabrick homes tonight 22H30

“Little boxes, Little boxes made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Cannabrick hope for the 'hardcore' poor

Cannabrick Eco Construction

The Department of Housing's far-reaching plan to provide housing for all South Africans will not only affect issues such as service delivery and access to credit and subsidies, but will also have implications for developers and material suppliers, a senior government official revealed.

Saths Moodley, adviser to Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, said yesterday that government would establish State-owned cement and brick factories as a response to the practice of 'hoarding' by many material suppliers.Moodley argued that many suppliers hold back building materials, creating a shortage and inflating prices, before releasing them in tranches and exploiting high prices.

While government does not wish to pass legislation to discourage this practice, it is set to pursue a research programme through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), focusing on building and material technology. Moodley commented that it is envisaged that the CSIR would also be involved in the evaluation and monitoring of government's building-material production programme. Full Story

Monday, March 27, 2006

Voting helps deliver housing... in Khayelitsha

Angry African National Congress supporters turned on Cape Town's newly elected mayor, Helen Zille, when she tried to meet residents of Khayelitsha to listen to their housing concerns... Full Story

FAS - The Cape's Social Disaster

Beneath slender mountain peaks, the immaculate vineyards of South Africa's Cape are the green jewels of the valleys. This is the idyllic heartland of one of the world's biggest wine industries, attracting tens of thousands of tourists and contributing £1.5 billion to the nation's economy.

It is also the scene of what experts call a "social disaster" - alcoholism has become a way of life for the mixed-race farm workers who tend the vineyards.

Their children suffer from the highest recorded rates of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world. A recent survey of one town in Western Cape Province found that eight per cent of all primary school children suffer from this condition and almost 50 per cent have an alcohol-related birth defect of some kind.

But there is virtually no education about the dangers of drinking. The workers are largely "Cape Coloureds". They have the blood of many races in their veins, rendering them the most marginalised group in society. Telegraph

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shack fires leave 30 homeless

At least nine shacks have been destroyed in a fire at an informal settlement in Khayelitsha near Cape Town. No injuries or fatalities have been reported. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

A group of about 30 people say they are not sure where they are going to spend the night as government has not stepped in to assist them. They say they are not sure if they will be accommodated at a community hall tonight.

A woman and her six-month-old baby, dressed only in a vest, said she and her baby are only left with the clothes they are wearing. She said however, that she is glad that they have each other, and no one was injured or died in the fire. SABC

No end to 'scrambled egg' of Cape Town politics

Political parties vying for control of the Democratic Alliance-led city of Cape Town on Thursday continued the tit-for-tat exchanges that have characterised a bitter tripartite power struggle. M&G

Just like the last 5 years and the 5 before that. Cape Town pottylicians are having food fights, showing off their skills by playing with service delivery eggs like crosstitutes, each openeing their legs to divert the fact that the current dispensation / politicial lay of the land acutally serves no-one that voted.

So much for the 'power vacum' that the housing minister promised would not be a problem...

tum-ti-tum... Solution: Build your own home

Power Payday

If there’s a five-letter expletive in Cape Town these days, it’s Eskom.With just one exception, Eskom’s executive directors, who earned R73-million last year, are the highest paid in the country.

The city has racked up losses of hundreds of millions of rands in power cuts and load shedding and faces a bleak winter as the country runs out of electricity capacity.

There are even suggestions the country’s targeted 6% economic growth is imperilled through mismanagement by the primary protagonist, the power utility, or its shareholder, the government. Eskom’s senior management has excelled in one area, though -- paying itself extravagant salaries. M&G Business/

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rasool urges Cape councillors to stop politicking and start working

Cape Town - Western Cape Premier, Ebrahim Rasool, says recently-elected local government councillors should shake off their election hangovers and focus on delivery issues.

"The Western Cape electorate has already spoken, and the least they expect from us is to begin focusing our efforts on improving their lives," Mr Rasool said today.

Mr Rasool, who was speaking during the opening of the Western Cape councillors summit that began today and ends tomorrow, said South Africa's development priorities transcended narrow party-political agendas.

He said that national government had already set a mandate for local government, and that what was required of newly-elected councillors was to execute this mandate, irrespective of which political party they belonged to.

"Your job is not to try and reinvent the wheel, but to ensure that the wheel is turning," he said.

Western Cape MEC for Local Government and Housing, Richard Dyantyi, said while local governments had a responsibility to ensure that they had a solid revenue base, this should not be done at the expense of the poor. BUA

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lack of services highlighted on Human Rights Day

While Human Rights celebrations were under way throughout the country, some were lamenting the lack of socio-economic rights. Residents of Diteneng informal settlement, outside Polokwane, Limpopo, say the lack of houses and toilets is compromising their dignity. SABC

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

South Africa’s answer to global warming?

Carbon efficient Cannabrick Homes

South Africa currently releases the highest amount of greenhouse gases in Africa and holds the none too prestigious title of being the world’s 13th largest contributor to global warming.

While the country has committed to reducing toxic releases, little focus has been placed on the transport sector which currently accounts for about 24 percent of South Africa’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Experts now fear that these emissions will rise by 82 percent by 2020 if no immediate action is taken.

The City of Cape Town has taken heed of these shocking predictions and subsequently commissioned an independent panel to investigate whether non-polluting alternatives such as biofuels can be successfully introduced.

The panel concluded that of the two biofuels available - biodiesel (for all diesel engines) and bioethanol (for petrol vehicles) – biodiesel is the most suitable option because it is a mature technology which requires little or no engine conversion and can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure.

Biodiesel is a clean-burning, biodegradable and renewable fuel that can be produced from oil seed crops such as sunflower, soy and groundnut. Seed bearing trees such as Jatropha (and cannabis) are also good sources. Business in Africa

Ford And Diesel Never Intended Cars To Use Gasoline ENERGY CRISIS: Globalresearch

Weeds - Cannbrick homes tonight 22h30

“Little boxes, Little boxes
made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Monday, March 20, 2006

Housing in defence of whose interests?

In respect of the slow pace of delivery of affordable housing for lower-income groups, the Banking Association has reported that, largely as a result of insufficient stands for new houses, delivery of new houses in this sector fell 28% last year. Indeed, the Absa report identifies the main cause of house-price inflation last year as higher land prices caused by a scarcity of suitable and fully serviced land. Certainly, for affordable housing, the real problem is public service delivery, not foreign buyers.

The interim report claims to dispel the myth that government is hoarding land suitable for redistribution, but the proof of this is still outstanding. The land listed in the report does not include the considerable areas owned by parastatals and, apart from this, some observers claim that not all other government-controlled land is registered as such and, therefore, is not included in the summary. Business Day

Faecal pollution threat to SA's aquifers

Faecal pollution from human settlements is a big threat to groundwater reserves in South Africa, says the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

Some schemes utilising groundwater had been shut down, and others were being closely monitored as a result of this pollution, said the department's manager for information programmes, Eberhard Braune. Speaking after making a presentation on groundwater protection at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City, he said groundwater in South Africa prior to 1994 had been classified as private water. M&G

Sunday, March 19, 2006

6 may 2006 World radio report Italy and South Africa rule the radio waves

This year there will be another and more accurate Million Marijuana March world radio broadcast made in English with some African influence by of Bologna Italy and by of Cape town- South Africa.

It will be an exciting occasion of mixing the culture of Africa with the antiprohibitionist streams of the world ranging from most important northern American towns, Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe. About 180 towns will be taking part and everybody will be wired!

Radio for peace covers via satellite the most of Europe, Turkey, Russia and Northern Africa it's definitely downloadable at and it is disposable for being broadcasted for non commercial use via audio streaming on air worldwide and similarly some of last year's programmesare at your disposal.

Housing majors to be grilled by parliament

As the country prepares for accelerated housing delivery to eradicate shacks, parliament has departed from tradition to call together all those passing the buck in housing subsidy graft.

Its standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) decided after a report from the auditor-general (AG) to call the national department and provincial housing authorities to a joint hearing to explain why more than R300-million has been lost to corruption.

"The AG's audit provides disturbing reading because it calls into question the number of houses built since 1994," Themba Godi, Scopa's chairperson, told Independent Newspapers. "The report talks about double payments to the same application and this constitutes a very high percentage at a time when we are trying to half the number of those living in shacks.

The government has committed itself to the millennium goal of halving the number of those squatting, and Lindiwe Sisulu, the housing minister, is implementing new plans to increase the number of units being built... Full Story

Wait for the report, the promise, the grilling, the interpretation, new plans and principals ... or simply build your own enviromentaly friendly cannabrick home Here's How

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Shack owners rebuild after demolition operation

About 500 residents of Hillview at Steenberg in the South Peninsula are disregarding authorities and have begun rebuilding their shacks after members of the Cape Town municipality and police demolished their structures this morning.

Residents are adamant that they will not move from a piece of land which they say was given to them by the council. Since early this morning authorities have moved in and demolished about 50 shacks which were built last night. Residents say they have no place to stay and are living in backyard dwellings where they have to pay huge amounts in rent each month. SABC

Shack fires leave one dead in Cape Peninsula

One person has been killed in one of three shack fires in the Cape Peninsula last night.Cape Town Fire says an adult was burnt beyond recognition when an informal structure was gutted at Philippi East early this morning.

In Macassar, 13 people were left without a roof over their heads after four shacks were gutted, and in Ravensmead near Parow, nine people were left homeless after two shacks burned down. SABC

Cape squatters forced off land

Cape Town - Cape Town police were monitoring a site at Seawinds, near Lavender Hill, on Saturday morning, following the forced removal of illegal squatters on a municipal plot. Pieter Cronje, spokesperson for the city of Cape Town said the SA police and their metro colleagues moved in to remove illegal structures at 08:00.

He said the police were enforcing a Cape High Court interdict granted to the city, prohibiting the illegal occupation and erection of structures on city land. Cronje said a provisional order was made final by the court last week. He said illegal structures on the Seawinds' plot had escalated from three at 17:00 on Friday to 37 on Saturday. News24

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The 'no power' shit hit the fan, 20-Mill to make a plan

The City of Cape Town is looking to spend up to R20-million urgently on back-up generators to prevent sewage spills from pump-stations during power failures. The city has 393 pump stations that fail when their power supply is cut.

Normally the sewage is pumped from these stations to a waste-water treatment plant. Because they are gravity fed from residential areas, sewage continues to flow into the pump stations even when their pumps are off.

When they are full, overflow sewage is diverted into the stormwater system, which feeds into rivers, wetlands and vleis, so that it does not spill into and contaminate residential areas. Full Story

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Weeds / Cannabrick homes tonight 22H30

“Little boxes, Little boxes made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cape blackouts 'are costing firms millions'

The South African Chamber of Business wants the Western Cape to be declared a disaster area after weeks of crippling blackouts that have inconvenienced thousands of homeowners and cost businesses millions of rand.

Developments in the burgeoning Parklands suburb, near Blouberg, have been put on hold until an effective evacuation plan for a possible nuclear emergency is in place. Full Story

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Shac Chic?

OK - now that's new to me, a Shack is chic, erm lets see becuase it's quaint?

Chic to live in a tin shack that has an internal tempreture of 45degrees Celcius on a 35 degree day. Or to live in a cold, wet leaky self decorated chic home...

Erm, I think city management are missing the point - I don't think any shack dweller thinks life in the shacks is CHIC...

Tourism Cape Town

The design and construction of buildings today are modern, contemporary and influenced from a number of places around the world. The Cape has also seen a drive to restore many of the older buildings.

In the townships of the Cape, a new form of architecture and design has developed.

This is referred to as shac chic.

Township dwellers use simple materials and waste products to build and decorate their houses. Wallpaper may be made from tin cans or bottle tops while the exterior walls are brightly painted. This is an expression of people's creativity and pride in their community.

This is architecture in true African style... and it is extremely flammable.

See shack fires.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Buckets 'o BullShit!

Bucket system to be eradicated by 2007: govt

The government has reiterated that by 2007, all bucket toilet systems will be eradicated in the country. This week, South Africa is celebrating its first national sanitation week and workshops on sanitation and hygiene will be held countrywide. Nomxolisi Mamatyala, the deputy director of sanitation in the water affairs and forestry ministry, says sanitation should be prioritised in all municipalities. "We have set targets especially on bucket system and we are saying that by 2007 we would have eradicated all the buckets that we have in our country. SABC

Housing Fraud

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Limpopo Housing and Local Government MEC, and Premier Sello Moloto are locked up in a meeting ahead of the release of a long-awaited report on corruption and fraud in the department. The report was expected to be released hours ago. The department appointed a task team to investigate allegations of corruption in the building of RDP houses. Some building constructors were paid millions of rands for incomplete housing projects. SABC

34-Million Africannabians

GABORONE - The main alleged 'illicit drug' of use in Africa is cannabis (also known as marijuana, dagga, ntsangu, umya) which is used by more than 34 million people in the region.

According to International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) 2005 report released by the United Nations, the cannabis plant is cultivated throughout Africa, and cannabis is smuggled within the region and beyond, mainly into Europe and North America. While cannabis herb is produced in all sub-regions of Africa Read More

Houseit! - with all that industrial hurd available, why not,
build yourself a cannabrick home, Africannabians ?)

InternAfrica an NGO for sustainable development.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

W Cape’s hung municipal housing delivery

MEC for Local Government and Housing Richard Dyantyi called on councillors at a press conference yesterday to accelerate service delivery. "We must keep the momentum in the councils. This is a critical time as we are in the last quarter of municipal budgets," he said.

Expressing disappointment at the nature of the debate surrounding the City of Cape Town, Dyantyi said: "A week after the elections the debate is more on who has the (political) power than on the needs of the people.

"Councils have until March 17, to hold their first meetings. "If the first meeting is not successful, they must have a new meeting in the next seven days. "However, 'no power vacuum' will be allowed at any time," Dyantyi said. Argus

Ironic that; with no power no cement mixers turn... cement factories stop producing... development is held randsome to THE power vacum!

Cape farmers bear the brunt of blackouts

Farmers across the Western Cape have demanded answers from Eskom about the rolling blackouts that have already cost the agricultural sector millions of rand.

"We're seriously asking what the government is going to do about the power supply, because the future of sustainable agriculture in the Western Cape is at stake."

Farmers who relied on irrigation from canals applied to irrigation boards two weeks in advance for water. This was released from dams and each farmer had an allotted time to pump water from the canals. But many had been unable to do so because of the unpredictable power cuts - so the water ran past them to the sea.

MEC for Agriculture Cobus Dowry is out of the country. Full Story....

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Weeds - Cannabrick homes tonight 22H30

“Little boxes, Little boxes
made of ticky tackey
& the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
& they all came out the same”
Except the houses made from cannabricks
the rest all look just the same

Monday, March 06, 2006

Packing for Perth because of the poo!

Deep in the muck and itching to emigrate. This is the situation Cape Town resident David Arnold has found himself in because of the sewage spillages in a river that literally flows under his driveway and garden. Full Story....

Compulsory solar heating mooted for Cape Town

It may soon become compulsory for Capetonians to install solar-heated geysers in all new buildings.

Plans are under way to draft bylaws with the help of Danish experts that would mean water in geysers in every new building would have to be solar-heated. This would apply to domestic, state and commercial buildings...

The City of Cape Town hopes to introduce incentives, such as rates rebates or a subsidy, to encourage owners of existing buildings to switch to using solar panels to heat water.

Although the proposal was developed to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, its implications for saving energy are probably more pertinent considering the blackouts in the Western Cape since November... Read More

Build intelligently, with eco firendly, carbon efficient cannabricks, internal relative temperatures are much more controlled, saving electricity for cooling and heating.

HouseIT?-) Housing Subsidy Scams

Housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu has appointed a committee to urgently examine the findings of an auditor-general’s report that found R323m worth of irregular housing subsidies were approved by provincial housing departments between 1995 and 2004.

About 3.6% of the 1.4 million individual housing subsidies approved in this period involving 53,426 beneficiaries were found to be irregular.

(The national average of 5 citizens per house means 266,000 people are affected by this)

The report identifies a number of different kinds of irregularities. Some subsidies had been granted to employees earning over the annual salary subsidy threshold, some beneficiaries had died or were under 21, and some subsidies were paid to the same applicant or household more than once.

There are thousands of cases of duplicate subsidies awarded for the same property.

Saturday Weekend Argus 04 March 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

No power - Need candles - 4 die in shack fire

Four people died when their shack in Bellville South burnt down on Thursday, Western Cape police said.Captain Randall Stoffels said a two-month-old baby girl, a 15-year-old girl and two men were asleep in the shack in Stilvaney Street when the fire broke out at 2am."It is alleged that a burning candle fell over and set the Wendyhouse on fire. No foul play is suspected." Sapa
InternAfrica is a not-for-profit organisation addressing the Cape Habitat Crisis through education of sustainable green building methods as demonstrated here on HouseIT