No decision on Hughenden

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Photo: ANA Pictures

Independent evaluators will be meeting Hughenden Estate residents from next week to value their homes and discuss whether they would be open to selling to the City of Cape Town.

This was revealed at a two-hour meeting between the City and 12 of the area’s 19 residents in Constantia on Tuesday night, October 3.

The City is eyeing the properties to establish future housing projects, ostensibly to alleviate the housing strain in Imizamo Yethu.

Resident Michael Ahlfanger said mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron attended the presentation, and informed residents that the independent evaluators would be sitting down with them to negotiate a market-related price for their homes.

“They (City) are looking to develop the Hughenden area, to settle about 700 people. What he told us was that if 90% of the residents wanted to sell, they would essentially compel the others to do the same,” he said. “My question is how can the City explain taking houses away from some people to give to other people like that?”

Hughenden, Meadows and Riverside Terrace residents have already taken exception to the proposed establishment of an emergency housing site above the cemetery on Hout Bay Road, saying this will present a massive safety and security risk as there is only one formal entrance into and out of Hughenden Road.

“I also asked how they intended valuating our properties, when it is the City itself which has allowed the area to deteriorate by allowing rubbish to be thrown everywhere.

“We have spent a great deal of money on improving our homes, so they (evaluators) can come here and speak to us, but I doubt they will give us what we want. They would have to go very deep into their pockets.”

While Mr Herron confirmed that evaluators would be meeting with the residents from next week, he said it was incorrect that in the event of 90% of homeowners choosing to sell the remainder would be compelled to do so.

“I stated that expropriation is one of the legal options available to the City, but that we are not at the point of considering this,” he said.

“We are proposing to engage directly with each property owner with a view to acquiring their properties through purchase at fair market value. We are aware that many of the Hughenden properties are on the market, or have been on the market recently, and so we are hoping for a positive response.

“In response to a question about our options, should we not secure purchase and sale agreements with all of the owners, I indicated that we could only determine a way forward at the end of the engagement process and that no decision about this scenario had yet been made. In addition we are currently also investigating the acquisition of alternative land in Hout Bay.”

He said the City was looking into buying sites within Hughenden Estate because of its proximity to Imizamo Yethu. The meeting with the owners was only the first step of engagement.

“No decision has been taken as yet.”

He said the City was only exploring the option of acquisition.

“However, any new housing development will be formal in nature, meaning these will be Breaking New Ground (BNG) State-subsidised housing or community rental units or flats for qualifying beneficiaries who are registered on the City’s housing database,” he said.

“I would like to see a formal integrated development that adds value to the suburb and provides beneficiaries with a decent dignified home; and for those who qualify for home ownership an asset that will appreciate in value.

“Acquiring additional land and finally tackling the formal development of IY is an opportunity for us to do something special for the people of IY and Hout Bay.”