Fifty years after the apartheid government declared District Six a whites-only area, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said the city continued to do all it could to see the rightful claimants returned to the area.
Following the declaration under the Group Areas Act on February 11, 1966, more than 60 000 families were uprooted and torn apart.
In her weekly newsletter, De Lille said the pain of those days had never subsided for many.
She said many Capetonians were linked to the area in some way. Her grandmother was forced to move from Tennant Street to Lavender Hill.
“Today, when I drive past the address, my happy childhood memories are mixed with the pain I feel because of her forced removal. Perhaps I am not as invested as the people who were forced to move from District Six, but I saw the pain in giving up a life and being moved to the Cape Flats.”
She said the City of Cape Town, provincial government of the Western Cape, and Department of Rural Development and Land Reform were developing the area. The department was primarily responsible for the process.
De Lille said the province had released land for the integrated redevelopment of District Six. It was building a community health centre, which was due to be completed next year.
The city was doing everything possible to facilitate the process.
“We will provide all of this support and streamline applications as they are needed, and as the National Government submits comprehensive project plans to us with detailed cost estimates and timelines so that we can provide whatever is necessary as quickly as possible.”
De Lille said they stood firm in their mission of redress and reconciliation.