Draft framework for ERF 1212 leaves Strandfontein residents frustrated

The Strandfontein Community hall was packed last week for a meeting to discuss the development of Erf 1212 in Strandfontein.

The community of Strandfontein did not welcome the draft framework plan for Erf 1212, a site in Strandfontein, which was on the agenda at a meeting last week.

The Strandfontein community hall was packed for the meeting called last Wednesday to discuss the development of the Strandfontein site, which would include housing.

The City of Cape Town’s human settlements department undertook a feasibility study of Erf 1212 to assess the feasibility of the site for development, including housing. A draft framework plan was compiled and the City had the public engagement with the Strandfontein community to get input, comments and further ideas.

However, residents were left frustrated as they were hopeful that Strandfontein residents would be the first to receive housing.

Beneficiaries of all City housing projects are allocated in accordance with the City’s Allocation Policy and the Housing Needs Register to ensure that housing opportunities are provided to qualifying applicants in a fair, transparent and equal manner, and to prevent queue-jumping.

Erf 1212 Strandfontein is owned by the City of Cape Town and is reserved for the human settlements department, said Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements.

He said the community will be part of the process; the meeting held on June 22 was the first step in this process.

Mr Booi said the human settlements department is responsible for management and maintenance of the site, which is vast and not all of it is well-suited to the development of housing.

“Human settlements initiated a framework study, feasibility study, in order to determine the best possible use for the site; be it housing or otherwise. The draft framework is the outcome of this study, and it was presented in order to gain input from the public on Wednesday June 22,” said Mr Booi.

The framework contains a detailed analysis of site constraints such as geotechnical considerations, topography, biodiversity, transport and spatial planning directives, among others.

“It analysed the capacity of the site; taking into account any social amenities such as schools and clinics that may need to be provided to cater for future needs. An assessment of all existing structures on site was also undertaken, as well as a demographic survey of all occupants on the site,” Mr Booi said.

“The information gathered enabled the team to make some high-level proposals, most notably the identification of environmental ‘no-go’ zones and areas that would be suitable for residential development purposes. The framework concluded that approximately 750 housing opportunities, of various housing models, not only Breaking New Ground (BNG) would be appropriate for the site at the current time,” said Mr Booi.

Raynard Achim, from the Chamber of Commerce said at the meeting they would like to unlock their economic potential.

Raynard Achim, from the Chamber of Commerce, at the meeting.

“According to what we’ve been shown by the draft, they’re completely taking away our ability to even have a hotel in the area. We don’t need little RDP houses … I don’t want RDP houses, we need to have a home where we can have our own family,” said Mr Achim.

He said this needs to be the first step in a master plan but in light of being an idea or concept, “we need to take a look at Mitchell’s Plain and where a business park or a hotel will be when Mitchell’s Plain turns 100”. “How can this help us become uplifted and employed using our own people?” he said.

Mr Booi said the framework identified sites suitable for future commercial development. The framework is open to providing a variety of solutions according to the need in the area. Uses such as hotels can form a part of the development, but such level of detail was not assessed at the framework and feasibility stage.

Ruwayda Curnow, chairperson of the Strandfontein Informal Settlement Committee, said the residents of Strandfontein want to be considered first for any plan, especially housing.

“The informal settlement residents are cleaning most of these houses. If you bring the houses to us then we will be pleased. But they struggle because winter is coming. They don’t have a warm place to stay. If they get a house, they will look after that house. It can’t wait another 10 years until winter is on our doorstep,” said Ms Curnow.

“I stay in a brick house, living comfortably. I’m with them. Thank you for coming but our people are being abused, violated and not treated well in these dwellings they have to stay in. Please find it in your heart to help us,” said Ms Curnow.

Mario Oostendurp, chairman of the Strandfontein Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said residents who were in attendance were there to find out if they would benefit from the proposed housing development.

Their main concern was who will be the beneficiaries of the BNG housing, he said. “At this point in time, they still do not have any clarity on who the beneficiaries of these BNG houses will be. The frustration comes from the fact that the City cannot commit nor guarantee residents currently living in our informal settlements that they will be the primary beneficiaries,” said Mr Oostendurp.

“We have formally and on numerous occasions requested that this project cater for current qualifying residents, from both the formal and informal sector, be the primary beneficiaries of the development.

“In addition, alongside the development, current services, resources, infrastructure be upgraded and additional added where required such as schools, road upgrades, the upgrading of SAPS, clinic, traffic calming, economic development, to name a few,” he said.

The City has outlined in their presentation, areas where services and resources “may be built”, but cannot guarantee that this will be done, he said.

“This is totally unacceptable, as new services and resources need to be implemented alongside new housing development. Our current infrastructure currently cannot cope with the demand and can simply not be expected to service an additional development,” he said.

Mr Booi said the allocation of opportunities will be done in line with the City’s Housing Needs Register and Housing Allocation policy. The framework exercise has shown the need in the directly surrounding area to be 750 opportunities, which is what will be catered for should the project go ahead into the planning and approvals stage.

The meeting had to be cut because of load shedding but a follow-up meeting will be held.

Sub-council 17 chairperson, Elton Jansen, said due to load shedding on the night of the meeting, it had to be cut but they will host another meeting to engage with the community and speak in detail to any questions they may still have, he said.