LOW income earners can now afford a home in the inner city, following the official opening of Casa Mia in Berea.

The R40-million housing development was officially opened by the member of the mayoral committee for housing, Dan Bovu, at the close of the GDS2040 Liveable Cities Week, on Saturday, 13 August.

Liveable Cities Week ran from 8 to 12 August and focused on the key areas of city planning and human settlements.

It was the first of nine themes to be tackled during the mayoral outreach programme – GDS2040, which is calling for public participation in shaping Joburg’s future – that started on 2 August. Citizens have been asked to give their input on a range of issues, such as transport, housing, water and affordable energy supply.

The other eight themes are resource sustainability, health and poverty, governance, transportation, community safety, environment, economic growth, and smart cities.

The 11-storey Casa Mia at 37 Soper Street consists of 179 units in total. They include shared accommodation, bachelor units and two-bedroom flats. Rent ranges from R800 for shared units to R2 000 and R2 500 for bachelor and two-bedroom flats.

Tenants are expected to be move in in November, as there is still work left to be done installing kitchen units and wardrobes. Bovu said Casa Mia was just one of several initiatives to bring people closer to places of work, transport services and opportunities.

“It is exciting, no doubt. Given the recently launched Growth and Development Strategy of the City of Johannesburg, this project is a step towards reaching the goal of a liveable city. The journey to 2040 starts here.

“This project will provide long-term housing and will be able to accommodate those displaced as s direct result of the inner city regeneration initiative,” he said.

Adding on Bovu’s sentiments, the member of the mayoral committee for development planning and urban management, Ruby Mathang, said refurbishing dilapidated buildings would help to rid the city of illegal building occupation, which had allowed buildings to become havens for criminals.

“A number of slumlords are now running away from the city to places such as Randburg, Turffontein and other places, but we are ready to follow them.

More and more buildings are being developed and eventually we will have the inner city free of slumlords,” said Mathang.
He urged people to be patient, saying Joburg was a big CBD and it would take time to be completed.

Originally built as a hotel in the 1940s, Casa Mia was bought the City in 1984. It was refurbished and converted into rental housing by the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco).

The head of housing in the City, Walter Melato, said the development of the inner city would ensure viable economic participation, as big businesses were already returning to the CBD.

“The time and money we have invested in the rebuilding of the inner city is already paying off in that businesses are tracking back, and this means more job opportunities and active economy.”

Source: Joburg.org.za