On average, the City’s housing database is growing by more than 1 000 applications per month. Protecting its integrity as well as enhancing the accuracy of the database through technology and innovation is therefore increasingly vital to ensure a fair and systematic way of delivering housing opportunities. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town is about to further its drive to increase efficiencies in the way that it manages its housing database through technology. There are approximately 300 000 applicants registered on the database who have expressed their need for a housing opportunity. As the need is pronounced, the database must be protected and managed properly to ensure that potential beneficiaries stand a fair chance at receiving a housing opportunity.
Shortly, the City’s housing database will be linked to its property database which will enable City data administration staff to immediately see whether an applicant already owns a property within the metro. This would halt the capturing of data for such applications and prevent time and resources from being wasted on non-qualifying applications. According to the criteria for receiving a State-subsidised housing opportunity, applicants who have previously owned property do not qualify for an opportunity which involves ownership.Efforts are also under way, with the support of the City’s Information Systems and Technology Department, to eradicate approximately 6 000 duplicate records.
In November 2014, the City’s digital housing database was launched to help applicants across the metro to update their details and to register on the Database in a hassle-free manner. To date, more than 15 000 new applicants have registered by using the online housing portal.
As of December 2015, applicants have also been able to check the status of their housing application by sending an SMS with their 13-digit identity number followed by a space and their surname to 44108.
Speaking to a visiting delegation from the Human Settlements Directorate of the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) metro, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, emphasised the importance of having a housing database which is protected, updated and audited to prevent queue-jumping and data-tampering.
Unlike the NMB metro, the City’s database is run independently from the national and provincial governments, although the City’s beneficiary list corresponds with the applicants who are on the databases of other spheres of government. During the session, advice was given on how to manage an independent database and how to ensure fairness when it comes to the allocation of housing opportunities.
‘Our database has several fire walls in place and various levels of access control. It is important that unauthorised people may not access critical data. In addition, the database is free from potential political interference. Councillors may view the database but may not change any details which have been captured on it. This is one way that we are trying to ensure fairness and transparency.
‘A big challenge is getting registered applicants to update their contact details and correcting invalid ID numbers. Currently, we have approximately 5 000 invalid or blank ID numbers on our system and most of the contact numbers of these beneficiaries are incorrect so we cannot contact them. Remember, if we cannot get hold of a beneficiary when it is their chance to receive a housing opportunity, it is given to the next person on the list,’ said Councillor Van Minnen.
The NMB metro’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Nqaba Bhanga, emphasised that there is room for greater city-to-city partnerships going forward.
‘We [the NMB metro] have a big challenge of beneficiary management and housing administration. It can be most painful not knowing if you are on the list or where you are on the list.’
To apply for a place on the City of Cape Town’s housing database online, residents should please visit http://web1.capetown.gov.za/web1/HWL2012Online/
Other vital information that residents should have ready prior to registering includes:
full names of the applicant and their spouse (if applicable), with ID numbers
marital status and marriage type
full names of children (if applicable), with ID numbers
details of any special needs within the household
It is important to note that qualifying applicants who do not have internet access can still visit any housing office or contact the call centre on 021 444 0333 to update their information or to register.