Building a home together

Pictured right is Elton Jansen, Sub-council 23 chairperson. Next to him is Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers and head of department, Thando Mguli.

Mitchell’s Plain backyarders and residents from Kosovo informal settlement will dig trenches together, lay bricks together, and build their houses and community together as beneficiaries of a R212 million housing project, which would be the South Africa that “we want”.

“Waar mense kan saam bly. In peace without hurting each other,” said Thando Mguli, head of the provincial government’s human settlement’s department.

“They will build, work and live together like brothers and sisters.”

He was speaking to members of the Kosovo and New Woodlands project steering committee (PSC) at a meeting with Housing MEC Tertius Simmers at the Sub-council chamber, in Lentegeur, on Thursday November 21.

Mr Mguli was responding to a question by New Woodlands PSC chairperson, Shahiem van Nelson, who said they fought to have equal housing opportunities for both communities but that now that it included the greater Mitchell’s Plain area, he asked whether the development of the housing project would still be split 50/50.

Mr Mguli said Mr Van Nelson should not let people miss out on a bigger opportunity because of a small chance that is happening now.

Mr Mguli said the rest of New Woodlands will be robbed of a future if the greater Mitchell’s Plain backyarders are excluded. “Everyone should be able to benefit,” he said.

“The principle we worked on was that we wanted to bring communities together – see all of the people together. Let’s stick to this. It is equitable and equal for both communities,” he said.

As part of this development the department will be building about 10 000 houses on more than 70 hectares of land, known as the Southern Corridor Integrated Human Settlement Programme, a joint initiative between the three tiers of government.

It brings together principles, processes and strategies agreed between different spheres of government to deliver significant housing solutions to areas of great need in Cape Town.

The housing developments will happen on pockets of land secured for the ultimate purpose of alleviating poverty.

The project includes the Airport Precinct Informal Settlement Project; the Kosovo informal settlement project, includes Kosovo Informal Settlement, Farm 694, New Woodlands, Vusi Ntshuntsha Trust Land, the Philippi Wedge and Mitchell’s Plain backyard dwellers; Welmoed Housing Project; and Ithemba Farms Housing Project.

The Kosovo project’s main site includes 22 hectares of informal settlement and approximately 6 200 households.

They are finalising a detailed layout plan for submission to the City and for environmental approval.

The development framework and submission of a detailed layout plan was done in September; the planning decision is due March next year and construction is expected to start in May.

Project manager, Courtney Dick, said the development proposal included 5 000 to 6 000 housing opportunities – duplex, multi-storey walks and makes provision for public open spaces, community facilities and market and play areas.

He said key challenges included dense existing settlements; potential outcomes of the beneficiary administration process; and that developments happen as soon as the first beneficiaries are relocated to Farm 694 New Woodlands. This would be the same for the main site for Farm 694 New Woodlands which is five hectares of vacant land adjacent to an existing formal suburb.

This has 440 housing opportunities; duplex and single storeys for the elderly and the disabled.

Here 50 percent of housing opportunities have been allocated to Mitchell’s Plain backyard dwellers.

The Philippi Wedge includes 50 hectares of privately-owned land.

After the land purchase is confirmed, duplexes and multi-storey walk-ups are envisaged.

Chumisa Thompson, from Kosovo Informal Settlement project steering committee, had a few words with Mr Mguli, who called site agent Johan van Zyl, from Power Smart JV, over to confirm that every decision and development should be done fairly and equally.