The City of Cape Town confirmed this week it will use Hout Bay’s contested “triangle” site for emergency housing. Meanwhile, nearby residents say they’d like an education centre built there afterwards.
Brett Herron, the City’s urban development boss, said the mayoral committee had given the nod to using part of the site (Erf 1459) above the cemetery on Hout Bay Road to house Imizamo Yethu residents temporarily.
The declaration would be published in the Provincial Gazette in due course, he said.
The triangle site has been a source of friction since the City of Cape Town signalled its intention to house Imizamo Yethu residents there while the township is revamped for basic services – superblocking .
But Hughenden, Meadows and Riverside Terrace residents don’t want an emergency housing camp next door. They say that with only one formal way in and out of Hughenden Road, it will be unsafe.
They fear the envisaged 200 households on the site will carry health risks for them and those living in the camp.
The site is being bulldozed in preparation of the temporary relocation area (TRA).
However, a group of residents has been meeting with provincial and City officials as well as community stakeholders to discuss the feasibility of establishing an education centre once the TRA has served its purpose.
The City can declare the site a TRA for a 90-day period with the possibility of a further 90-day extension, according to the by-law for municipal disasters.
“This proposal is not to stop the TRA but rather provide a solution
to the land use issue after the TRA,” said community representative and one of those behind the plan, Melissa Risi.
It is envisaged that the centre would include a creche, after-care job-skills training and a hall serving both the school and the community, Ms Risi said she had already met with Oranjekloof principal Mkhululi Qaba to discuss the proposal.
She and her team have also raised it with premier Helen Zille, Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and City officials.
However, Mr Qaba said the school governing body had already rejected the project.
The proposal states: “The idea of an integrated community effort is the aim. We need to build bridges here in Hout Bay, and this centre would be space for us to come together under the very import factors of youth and education, which equals all our futures.
“The question of integration is a tricky one since we have such a huge divide between the haves and have-nots. Here is a opportunity to bridge this gap and bring people together for the greater good. Education is something no one in this world would deny. By creating a holistic centre for the community and inviting everyone to contribute in a space created
for social justice is a win-win situa-
tion that will change lives in the process.”
Ms Risi said a number of private financiers had already expressed interest in the project, while a group of engineers and architects has also agreed to be on board to get the project up and running.
Mr Herron said the City had heard of the proposal for the education centre on the site once it had served its purpose as an emergency housing site.
“We are encouraged by the proposal and intend to discuss it directly with representatives of the community, who made the proposal.
“The zoning allowing the site to be used for emergency housing is temporary. Once the suspension is lifted, the original zoning will once again apply.”