By Rekord East, 24 November, 2015
A new social housing project that will transform part of Pretoria’s inner city will be ready for occupation next year.

A unique social housing project to kick start the regeneration of the north-western precinct of the CBD, will be ready for occupation next year.

Once completed, the R265 million Thembelihle Village will provide a safe haven for more than 700 families – complete with biometric access control, CCTV and 24-hour guarding of the premises.

With rent (for a bachelor apartment) starting as low as R700 per month, the project was aimed at providing affordable quality homes to low income employees closer to their place of work, said developer, Yeast City Housing NPC managing director, Lukas van der Merwe.

The first phase of Thembelihle Village, comprising 241 apartments, will be completed in June after Yeast appointed a new building contractor in August.

The construction of the village came to a temporary halt earlier this year after the contractor was placed under liquidation – resulting in the termination of his contract.

Thembelihle will boast facilities such and pre- and after school care, a mini soccer field, swimming pool and a vegetable garden, Van der Merwe said.

“Other components of community development include a job and training centre,” Van der Merwe said.

He said that a full-time community development officer would also be employed and that the Tshwane Leadership Foundation would assist with after-school and holiday programmes.

“The objective is to create a healthy village where residents can develop and enjoy a balanced way of living,” Van der Merwe said.

He added that the green technology to be implemented made Thembelihle even more unique.

“Green technology is used for warm water with a heat pump system,” Van der Merwe said, adding that provision was also made for on-site parking and retail space.

The village would stretch almost an entire block between Struben, Sophie de Bruyn, Shubart and Proes streets, he said.

“Thembelihle Village will be the first light in the darkness of that part of the city.”

According to Yeast financial manager Don McDougall, the village would also be the leading and biggest social housing development in the CBD.

He said the biggest challenge was to keep development costs down as the add-ons, such as the children’s facilities, were not subsidised by government but provided by Yeast.

Because part of the development was being subsidised by the government, the rent charged for the apartments was dictated by the government.

Van der Merwe said Thembelihle was ten years in the making.

“Our projects have social responsibility and we attempt to go that extra mile to give poor working people the opportunity to live in affordable, quality accommodation close to their places of work.”

According to Van der Merwe, the waiting list for apartments was already a mile long. He said accommodation in the village was open only to people who earn between R2 000 and R7 500 a month.

The second phase, comprising 492 units would be ready for occupation in April 2017.

Yeast City Housing NPC was founded in 1998 by a group of eight inner-city churches known as the Pretoria Community Ministries with a vision of healthy communities and neighbourhoods with access to decent and affordable housing.

“We believe that housing is more than bricks and mortar – it is a home, a place of revival and healing and a platform for growth and an environment in which to flourish,” Van der Merwe said.

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