Home owners must accommodate less fortunate

2017-04-01 05:47

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Southern suburbs homeowners could be expected to assist their less fortunate neighbours.

This if a draft policy, currently being circulated through municipal departments for comment, is approved.

The draft policy, titled “Foolproof Fynbos Protection Policy of 2017”, looks to minimise the impact of informal settlements on fynbos and wetlands areas following recent land invasions in Masiphumlelele and Imizamo Yethu.

The land invasions, along with growing informal settlements, are causing extensive damage to critical fynbos and wetlands areas, states the report accompanying the policy. The policy looks to prioritise the protection of these areas by limiting the human settlements in the area. As such, it has identified seven informal settlements that will need to be relocated, with the most urgent being Masiphumlelele and Imizamo Yethu.

The report found there was little municipal property available to accommodate a growing number of informal settlements in the city – caused by increasing population numbers due to  migration from surrounding provinces – and found the only “reasonable accommodation” left was on privately owned property. This has seen council officials looking to alternative sites within suburban residential areas.

The policy proposes that homeowners with gardens of 30 square metres make space available to backyard dwellers.

Gardens of 30m2 will be expected to accommodate a family of four. For every additional 20 square metres thereafter, the homeowner will be expected to accommodate an additional family of four. The policy suggests workshopping further details around the accommodation of extended family for those living in the backyard dwellings.

“We simply just don’t have space for all these people,” says the controversially appointed spokesperson Frank Pranks.

“As a caring city, it’s time for private residents to step up. We have a number of public open spaces available for residents and there is no reason why property owners need to keep spacious gardens while those less fortunate go without homes.”

Pranks says the relevant departments will be looking to rehome around 250 families by 1 April next year and may consider enacting the new land expropriation act, should it be approved.

The first roll-out of relocation is expected to take place in Noordhoek and Constantia, where officials are confident they will find sufficient space to accommodate the families from Masiphumlelele and Imizamo Yethu respectively.

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