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The recruitment, training and employment of nearly 400 rental stock monitors is meant to help improve the standard of living in City rental units as these monitors become the eyes and ears of their communities. 

The City of Cape Town has launched a new programme aimed at uplifting rental stock areas and addressing socio-economic challenges by empowering female tenants.

In the last month, 380 women have been recruited in nine rental stock areas with the assistance of local ward councillors. Candidates had to be legal rental stock tenants, older than 21, and upstanding members of their community who are willing to participate for the duration of the programme.The areas in question are Athlone, Hanover Park, Lavender Hill, Lotus River, Macassar, Manenberg, Ocean View, Ravensmead and Uitsig.

A number of City departments have worked together to devise a training programme which will assist the women to:

  • participate in identifying and addressing safety concerns and other challenges in their environment
  • activate service requests related to maintenance of the rental units and surrounding roads, littering and dumping, graffiti, etc.
  • provide home-based care services to elderly residents
  • monitor and address truancy
  • participate in cleaning and recycling projects
  • unlock economic and potential entrepreneurship opportunities
  • participate in existing City programmes around substance abuse, domestic violence, and strengthening families

‘There are many challenges that come with our rental stock. This initiative has the City working with tenants to improve the lives of their communities. Apart from empowering the women who are part of the programme, we also hope to secure the buy-in of residents who are best placed to articulate their needs and who need to be actively involved in addressing those needs,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.

The initiative has four phases. Phase one involved engaging with different departments to develop the training and intervention programme and identifying participants. Phase two will focus on training and development through the introduction of recycling programmes and economic opportunities. Phase three will see the women employed through the Expanded Public Works Programme for a six-month period (supervised by the relevant departments), monitoring the programme and devising an exit strategy for participants. Phase four will focus on identifying a second group of women to participate in the programme.

A youth component has also been built into the programme to link young people residing in the participating rental stock areas with City-run youth programmes and camps through an incentive programme.

‘The City is the largest landlord in South Africa and manages more than 40 000 rental units and more than 19 000 selling scheme units. These rental units have been home to thousands of families across the city for many years and we have an important responsibility to our tenants to maintain and upgrade our rental stock. To do this, we rely on rental/instalment collections and we know that instilling a culture of payment now will ensure a sustainable future for all residents. We are hoping that these female tenant-ambassadors will also spread the message that we need our tenants to pay to help us to maintain our units. We need to work together,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen.

‘If this programme takes off in the way we envisage, we should see an increase in the number of service requests created, but also a general improvement in the cleanliness and safety of the rental stock areas in question. I applaud the many City departments who have joined this initiative, but also our many non-governmental partners. I therefore appeal to all residents to help themselves by supporting this initiative as it could be the blueprint for how we tackle issues related to social housing in the future,’ added Councillor Little.

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