Land for District Six development

Housing Director-General Mpumi Nxumalo told Parliament's portfolio committee on housing last week that 40 hectares of land have been made available to build houses in Cape Town's historical District Six as part of a comprehensive plan to develop the settlement.

The N2 Gateway Project, of which the District Six development forms part, is a Western Cape government pilot project to upgrade existing informal settlements. The Project currently includes 124 hectares of land and is home to 10 000 households.

"District Six is at the extreme end of the project, and the intention is to integrate it into other N2 projects", Nxumalo said.

There will be two pilot projects to upgrade informal settlements per province, with the aim of doing away informal settlements within the next 10 years.

The N2 project encompasses areas along the national road stretching from Cape Town International Airport to District Six.

Nxumalo said 4 000 mixed income and mixed-use housing units would be developed in District Six over a five-year period.

"The importance of this particular end of the N2 is that it provides a very good example of how we can achieve cross-subsidisation between low-income housing and commercial development", she said.

Nine housing units have already been built in District Six, while 150 will be developed shortly.

Nxumalo said that the area posed challenges to development because there were outstanding land restitution claims on District Six emanating from the forced removals under the apartheid government.

An estimated 1 500 restitution claims by former residents will be settled through the N2 Project, she added. So far, 763 claims have been settled, while a number of claimants have opted for financial compensation.

Nxumalo allayed fears that there would not be enough land for the development in District Six, adding that the development would boost inner city rejuvenation in Cape Town.

Project co-ordinator Peter Oscroft said the land had capacity for 7 200 households, adding that the project would lead to the integration of communities with industry, transport, open public spaces and other elements of city development.

Article by: Karen Pretorius - www.southafrica.info