Hout Bay Road site tagged for emergency housing

The City of Cape Town has identified a site above the cemetery on Hout Bay Road and opposite the Oranjekloof Moravian School for emergency housing.

With the emergency displacement area (EDA) at the Hout Bay Sports Complex having been found to be unsuitable for long-term habitation, and the EDA near Disa Primary School required by the City to start construction of formal housing opportunities, the City believes an additional site had to be found for households to be temporarily relocated so that the area can be rehabilitated and formally serviced during the superblocking process.

The EDAs were established in the wake of the March 11 fire that left more than 10 000 residents destitute.

Last month, the City confirmed that a Unesco heritage site above Hughenden was also being explored as an option for development (“Speculation soars on land grab”, Sentinel, August 11).

According to Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority had now applied to council to declare the site above the cemetery, Erf 1459, for an urgent housing application in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law.

The City-owned land is currently zoned as public open space.

“Council has, at the council meeting on (Thursday) August 24, approved the commencement of a process in terms of Section 68 of the by-law to declare Erf 1459 an emergency housing site,” he said.

This site can accommodate some 200 temporary shacks.

The City was following the prescribed processes to suspend the current zoning applicable to the land so that the site could be used for emergency housing, Mr Herron said.

“In terms of Section 68 of the Municipal Planning By-law (2015), the City must advertise its intention to establish an emergency housing site. This serves as an official notice, informing residents of the City’s intention to suspend the zoning applicable to the land to allow for the land to be used for emer-
gency housing which would otherwise be in contravention of the development management scheme,” he said.

The advertisement will appear in newspapers today, Friday September 1, for comments until Friday September 15.

The City’s information and knowledge unit has revealed that in addition to the removal of trees and their root structures, it will be necessary for earthworks to be performed to create a single platform to house temporary shacks and services.

It was noted in the report to council – which contains a handwritten note: “This matter is urgent. Please can it be expedited”- that the area comprises Cape granite in terms of underground geological formation, and this would have to be taken into consideration during the construction of the foundations for structures.

Community members, the report said, had requested two spaces that could be used as play spaces and provision was made for these. Areas were also identified where washing lines could be installed.

The 200 shacks, measuring 3m x 3m, would also be serviced by taps and chemical toilets.

However, Len Swimmer, chairperson of the Hout Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, decried the move by the City. “This is how the mayor (Patricia de Lille) operates. She makes these decisions without consulting all Hout Bay’s residents. There’s no public participation or consultation. We didn’t even know about this until recently. It’s horrific.

“What concerns me is that no one is considering the carrying capacity of Hout Bay. No one is even looking at the infrastructure, which cannot cope with all the people.”

He said if the mayor was “true to her word” about reversing apartheid spatial planning, she would seek out flat land to accommodate residents. He suggested there was such land in areas like Constantia, Bergvliet and Meadowridge.

Healsoexpressedconcerns about how much the levelling of trees would cost.

“I understand it costs about
R8 000 to remove a single tree, and you’ve got between 400 and 500 trees on this site. You’re talking about a cost of four of five million rand just to remove the trees, money that could be used elsewhere.”

Imizamo Yethu community leader Kenny Tokwe said the new site was an “excellent idea”.

“We learnt of the City’s plans for the site two weeks ago. I think they must do whatever they can to accommodate people within the law, and as long as there is a public participation process,” he said.

“The willing majority of Imizamo Yethu supports this plan.”

He said residents expected to be housed on the new site were those currently residing on areas that were earmarked for new roads, to be introduced as part of the superblocking process.