Righting the past

2016-08-02 06:00
Mayor Patricia De Lille (centre) at a sod turning ceremony for the Dido Valley Housing Project. PHOTO: City of Cape Town

Mayor Patricia De Lille (centre) at a sod turning ceremony for the Dido Valley Housing Project. PHOTO: City of Cape Town

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A new housing project outside Simon’s Town will redress the ills of the past.

This was the sentiment of mayor Patricia de Lille, who spoke at the sod turning ceremony for the Dido Valley Housing Project which took place on Tuesday 26 July.

The development will house 600 families, 100 of whom are land restitution claimants who were forcibly removed from Simon’s Town and moved to Gugulethu in 1965.

The R40m investment by the City of Cape Town will also see the construction of a clinic, two parks, a crèche and a business site.

R2.3m has been spent of wages for Expanded Public Works Programme employees through the project, De Lille says.

Last year marked 50 years since the first forced removals from Simon’s Town under the Group Areas Act, which saw families forced to move from Luyolo to Gugulethu. Luyolo was a township established in the early 1900s for workers from the Eastern Cape who were extending the rail line from Simon’s Town to Kalk Bay.

About 1500 people lived there at the time of the forced removals in 1965 (“Families relive local history”, People’s Post, 29 September).

At the ceremony, De Lille welcomed the chairperson of the Luyolo Restitution Committee, Lungela Mafuya, who was born in 1946 and raised in Simon’s Town, spending most of his childhood being cared for by his mother who sold traditional beer illegally to make ends meet.

“Poverty forced him out of school, and he was required to work to support his three sisters at home. He remembers the day that he, as a young man of 18, and his family were forcibly removed in 1965. He recounts visions of seeing the truck stop in front their home and the uniformed men telling him they would be moved to Gugulethu and had to leave all their belongings behind,” she says.

“It has taken half a century for justice to be restored in their lives.”

The 18ha site along Dido Valley Road will also house residents from Red Hill and beneficiaries listed on the old Simon’s Town housing list. The project was initially planned in two phases, but will now be developed as one phase.

Civil construction begins this year and it will take a year before construction of the houses can commence.

This will see the expected date for the handover of houses late next year or early in 2018 (“Civils tender closes”, People’s Post, 3 May).

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