After months of delays, Imizamo Yethu residents displaced by the devastating fire in March have begun to be relocated from the Hout Bay sports complex to the Disa and Depot temporary relocation areas (TRAs).
The relocation from the sports field emergency relocation area, commonly referred to as “Silver City”, comes eight months after the fire, more than double the three months the City of Cape Town initially estimated the 300 households would be there for.
Violent protests erupted in Hout Bay once the three-month deadline passed, as residents complained of terrible living conditions at the sports field where they were housed in 3m x 3m shacks which were frequently flooded when it rained.
Following extensive negotiations with the community, the City identified two sites in Imizamo Yethu, the Disa site and the nearby Depot site, to house the sports field residents while it embarked on its superblocking process – blocking off sections of the informal settlement to install basic services.
A third TRA, located above the cemetery on Hout Bay Road and known as the “triangle” site, was recently approved for emergency housing by the City’s mayoral committee.
Fire victims began moving to the Disa and Depot sites last weekend, and it is believed the move will be completed by Friday December 15.
However, those residents resettled this week believe their circumstances have not improved.
Siyanda Jaje, his girlfriend and their three-year-old daughter were still busy unpacking their belongings into their new shack at the Disa site on Tuesday.
“We moved on Sunday, but we are not happy. These shacks are still too small,” Mr Jaje said.
“We were told that the owners of homes would be given shacks that are 6m x 6m. These are the same size as the ones on the field (3m x3m). I am an owner. But when I went to the City, they said I couldn’t have a 6m x 6m shack because I wasn’t married. But I have a family. They are living with me.”
He also complained electricity and water at the Disa site had not yet been connected.
“You can also see the sand blows into the shacks. It’s not any better than what we had at the sports field,” Mr Jaje said.
Another resettled resident, Mallande Kaziwa, also pointed to the 6m x 6m shack issue as a source of anger.
“The City must keep their promises. There’s also no water and electricity here. If the City don’t give us bigger shacks, we will be forced to move back to Dontse Yakhe where we were before. I know they want to superblock there, but we can’t carry on living in such small homes,” he said.
At a meeting with residents and other stakeholders two weeks ago, the shack size issue was discussed. Community representatives suggested those who owned homes would be given 6m x 3m shacks, while those who rented would be accommodated in 3m x 3m units.
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas “fully endorsed” the repurposing of the Depot site and presented this to full council two months ago.
“The City has now begun to relocate people to higher and drier ground, with access to safe, reliable individual electricity meters as well as flush toilets and piped water,” he said. “This allows for a safer, happier and more dignified life as we continue to improve Imizamo Yethu in terms of our formal housing projects and superblocking project. “Furthermore, the clearing of the field will allow for its urgent rehabilitation and the development of the budgeted and long planned Hout Bay Family Park project – an improved multi-use recreation, play, skate and sports facility that will not only serve the needs of the IY community but all of Hout Bay and visitors to our valley.”