From the news desk

Small relief for residents, as City decides against Wolwerivier

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Residents of Albert Street in Woodstock have expressed their relief that the City of Cape Town has decided not relocate them to Wolwerivier, an area some 30km from the City. The decision follows widespread condemnation of the City’s plans to relocate communities to an area that is isolated from socio-economic opportunities. Many of the residents that were earmarked to be housed in the Wolwerivier area reside within informal settlements that have been demolished or are formally homeless.

Fagmieda Ling, a resident of Albert Street in Woodstock, whose family also faces eviction, said while the City’s decision to desist in relocating residents to Wolwerivier is a victory, residents remain “untrusting” of City authorities regarding the City’s plans for inner city areas.

She says that the decision by the council to end the expansion of the 4500 Wolwerivier structures is as a direct result of the efforts by residents and various pressure groups.

“It is the fruit of the labour of community activism that they stopped expanding the 4500 structure – I think the City was shamed by continuing to insult us by wanting add all those structures in Wolwerivier, to send us there.”

Ling says that while 11 sites were identified for relocation, residents have voiced anger that should the courts decide in favour of the City, the City will push ahead with the relocation of residents to Wolwerivier, an area which residents describe as akin to a camp.

“We are still going to refuse to be relocated to camp because that is an insult to us, because that is surely not liveable for any human being.”

Given recent events, Ling confirmed that residents have been in discussion with the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.

She says that in the event residents are evicted, they are requesting the City provide provisional emergency housing in the Woodstock area or within a neighbouring area.

The case between residents who face eviction is currently pending, reconvening on October 11, 2017.

Meanwhile, Herron is set to open “public information days” on Friday, September 29, showcasing affordable housing in Salt River and Woodstock. In a statement, Herron said the City is working to redress the legacy of Apartheid Spatial Planning.

“The dire need for affordable housing requires that we change our approach. We have to speed up the delivery of housing opportunities and in so doing we must also ensure that we address and reverse the legacy of apartheid spatial planning,” said Herron.

The opening of these public information days coincides with the issuing of the prospectus for the development of these well-located City-owned sites – five of which will be made available to the private sector through a request for proposal process.

“Building inclusive communities where lower-income households live on well-located land close to work and public transport is one of the key priorities of this government. The precinct-led development in Salt River, Woodstock, and the inner-city is a momentous occasion for all of us. I am looking forward to meeting the local community and other important role players at the opening of our first open day tomorrow afternoon,” said Herron.

Herron invited stakeholders to attend the event.

“I am looking forward to meeting the local community and other important role players at the opening of our first open day tomorrow afternoon,” the statement read.

The “public information days” is scheduled to take place at the Cape Town Science Centre, 370 Main Road, Observatory, on Friday 29 September 2017 from 15:00 to 19:00, Saturday 30 September 2017 from 09:00 to 14:00, and Sunday 1 October 2017 from 10:00 to 15:00. VOC

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