District Six land claimants optimistic about R1.5bn redevelopment plan

2020-02-04 05:34
District Six land claimants outside the Western Cape High Court. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

District Six land claimants outside the Western Cape High Court. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

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Claimants, as well as their legal team and experts, seem to be in agreement with the land reform department's plan for the redevelopment of District Six in Cape Town.

The almost 200-page plan was assessed by the team and then presented to land claimants at a meeting at the Castle of Good Hope on Saturday.

Minister Thoko Didiza sent the plan in December, after close to two years of engagement and litigation.

Her predecessor, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, was hit with a personal costs order after the department failed to comply with a court order to submit a plan by deadline.

District Six Working Committee lawyer Nicki van’t Riet told News24 on Monday they had carefully perused the plan to make sure it fully complied with the court order.

"Whilst the plan may not be perfect in the eyes of every claimant, the legal team and technical experts considers the plan to be - by and large – a reasonable and adequate one," she said.

The plan is subject to a structural interdict, which requires that Didiza report back to the court every three months on progress made, until the restitution process is finalised.

Committee chairperson Shahied Ajam said they were given a strong dose of optimism and ownership during the meeting.

"Among the key takeouts of the meeting were that... the project had spurred an unprecedented level of positive political will and friendly cooperation between all three tiers of government," he said.

'Time frames for the project'

It appeared national, provincial and local government were now working together to finalise the redevelopment, he said.

Ajam said it was also envisaged that District Six would not just be developed as a set of houses but "as a thriving neighbourhood where a strong local economy, an eclectic and active community, and cultural life would be promoted".

The court required the inclusion of a conceptual layout of the development, details on funding and funding sources, time frames for the project broken down into milestones and the methodology for how the units would be allocated to claimants.

Van’t Riet said the plan broke down the costing of the project, an estimated R1.5bn over four years, but did not specify where it would be sourced.

It stated only that funding would be made available "in accordance with prevailing regulations and precepts".

In a letter to Didiza's lawyers last week, they asked that she provide clarity on the anticipated sources of funding in her next progress report, due on March 17.

News24 asked department spokesperson Reggie Ncgobo for comment on the funding.

He said on Monday: "Some of the funding will come from Restitution Grants and the remainder will be allocated at the discretion of the Director General (accounting officer) of the Department."

He added that the implementation plan was based on an extensive process of consultation with verified representatives of the claimant community.

"It is also in keeping with the larger District Six Development Framework that was extensively consulted on by communities across the City of Cape Town."

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  land  |  service delivery

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