Eduard Sjouerman, Hout Bay
IY – What now? One can but wonder what goes on in the heads of town planners and City fathers when the problems and future of IY are discussed.
How did it come about that a nice and well planned original development with tarred roads, street lights and all amenities installed and meant to house some 500 families has been allowed to explode into a huge messy environment where some 30 000 or 40 000+ people are packed on top of each other and often live in squalor and misery and are worried about safety.
The answer is of course that politics, as ever, took over when the initially ruling DA did absolutely nothing to curb the inflow of people when IY started and the subsequent ANC council later actively encouraged inflow to gather more votes.
Of course legislation that makes removals very difficult (for historic reasons) creates a reality vacuum when people squat illegally and often dangerously after having been promised free housing by the ruling party – a promise that is totally unrealistic and which creates expectations that simply can never be met.
Mass urbanisation is difficult to stop at the best of times and even more so when people are desperate to find work.
But to encourage it for political gain is insane and cruel when those promises are not met and bearing in mind that Hout Bay is/ was but a small dozy backwater without industry, without agriculture with a small retail environment and basically without any other means to offer meaningful employment to the many thousand new arrivals. It is known well enough that
Hout Bay is hemmed in by mountains and the sea and accessible only by two normal roads to the city and one toll road that
is prohibitively expensive.
By all means try to make IY more liveable but do not expand it. This corner of the Cape has more than enough souls living in it. The town’s roads are constantly congested, Main Road to Constantia an ongoing traffic nightmare and with no planning to widen or renew and with drains overflowing and water leaks everywhere.
Like so many other things in the beloved country, planning has been overruled by mass invasion and ongoing apathy and clear inability to stem the tide.
Extra care is needed to avoid this wonderful small touristy town from becoming a cesspool of unrest, unhappiness and ongoing aggression as this will no doubt damage the local economy which will be to the detriment of all.