From the news desk

South Rd residents fight eviction

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Residents in Wynberg and Plumstead are in an uproar over a proposed MyCiti bus route being planned for construction through their respective suburbs. This follows the City of Cape Town’s decision to issue eviction notices to 30 families residing in council owned homes, which will likely be demolished make way for the new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system. The families have been left devastated after the City ordered they vacate their homes by January and seek to challenge the evictions. The new route is being proposed to run through South Road in Wynberg.

The vice-chairperson of the South Road Families Association, Clive Muller, said whilst they were not against the implementation of the MyCiti system within the area, they believed something of this magnitude could not be done without proper consultation with the community.

The route is expected to be situated near several schools; most notably a special needs school within the Wynberg area. This has raised concerns that it may have detrimental effects on the safety of the children at these schools.

“On the other side we also have houses that fall within the heritage category that will now be demolished in order for this MyCiti double lane carriageway to go through the suburbs,” he explained.

The City has on several prior occasions highlighted a difficult housing situation within Cape Town, with a major shortage of land to accommodate the huge influx of people flowing into the city. With this in mind, Muller said it was shocking to see them agree to the further demolition of the houses.

In a bid to counter the City’s decision, they have submitted a memorandum to both Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, as well as Mayor Patricia De Lille. Amongst the main suggestions is that instead of going ahead with the plans, the existing transport infrastructure in the area should be used.

“This is to include the already existing roads, and just upgrade that infrastructure. They can then send the MyCiti to the transport interchanges, so that it can link up with other modes of transport,” he suggested.

Muller added that whilst the City had suggested that the proposal was still in the concept stage, they were in fact already conducting tenders for the construction of the route.

Responding to the claims City Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Councillor Brett Herron acknowledged that in order to avoid delays in the process, they had put out tenders for the design stage and management of construction. However, he insisted the concept and concept stage was still ongoing.

“The design stage will follow the concept stage, which has yet to be concluded. Part of this design stage includes the public participation. We are also not putting out tenders for construction, but rather the management of construction once the design is finished,” he explained.

Despite the uproar, Herron stressed that the MyCiti service has aimed purely at improve public service for all residents, with the goal of putting public transport within reach of every single home. In providing this service, there would be some unfortunate impacts. But he claimed that the properties in question had been acquired be the City for that very purpose.

“They are not heritage homes. They were acquired over many decades by the City for the purpose of demolishing. The tenants who live in those homes signed lease agreements with the City in which they acknowledged that sometime in the future, those properties would be required for municipal purposes,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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