Objections to Racing Park development

A total of 1500 units in a combination of three and four-storey blocks of flats are set to be built in Racing Park near Dunoon.

Many plan to object to a plan to move hundreds of Dunoon families to a new housing development near Racing Park.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu revealed the plan in March when she said national government had identified 3 000 hectares of land across the country to relocate people in overcrowded settlements.

Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers welcomed the announcement and said 1 500 housing units would be built for thousands of people to be moved from Dunoon.

The public now have 10 days – Friday July 10 to Monday July 20 – to submit objections or comments to a land-use application, which seeks to rezone erf 35148 and erven 35163 to 35170 in Winning Way, Milnerton from General Industry Zoning (GI1) to Mixed Use Zoning (MU1) and consolidate erven 35163 to 35170.

According to the site plans, the area is about 34360m² – which is almost 3.5 hectares, or three and a half rugby fields.

According to documents released by the City last Friday, the properties are part of a larger land holding by the Housing Development Agency (HDA), which acquires and holds land for government subsidised-housing projects.

The plan – accelerated by Covid-19, according to the documents – is to build a transitional residential area (TRA) to relocate those in Dunoon’s informal settlements.

According to Mr Simmers’s spokesman, Marcellino Martin, those relocated will be housed in one-bedroom, 24-to-30m² flats in three-to-four-storey blocks in the TRA. The blocks will be built with insulated modular panels made of expanded polystyrene covered by metal plates on both sides.

According to the land-use application documents, permanent housing will be built at a later date on other parts of the HDA-owned land. That housing will be for those in the TRA who qualify for a full state subsidy. Those who don’t qualify will continue to rent their TRA units from the provincial Department of Human Settlements.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the comment period had been shortened under the Land Use Planning Act because of Covid-19.

Racing Park chairman Renzo Schincariol said they would definitely be objecting to the development. The transfer of the land, he said, had been illegal because Racing Park’s Development Owners’ Association should have been notified before provincial government acquired it.

“We are the body corporate in the area, and we should have been notified of the plans and the deal before it was announced in the papers.

“The second reason we’re objecting is because this land is for industrial use, and not for housing. Maybe Mr Simmers is a bit wet behind the ears because he doesn’t know this could cause a war. The people of Doornbach have also been eyeing that land. This is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Mr Schincariol said Mr Simmers was aggravating an already complex situation by seeking a quick-fix to Dunoon’s problems.

David Ayres, who holds the planning and biodiversity portfolio in the Greater Table View Action Forum, said the relocation plan was a knee-jerk response to 20 years of incompetence and inaction by the City of Cape Town.

“The City has been complicit and has encouraged the over-densification of this area [Dunoon], while at the same time, not providing decent and humane sanitation and services. The construction of the flats will only compound the frustrations within the community and will cause unrest and possibly violence as people seek to grab housing opportunities,” he said.

In a statement on Friday July 10, the City said although the site of the proposed development was vacant it had utilities infrastructure and roads.

However, Table View Ratepayers’ Association chairwoman Mandy da Matta questioned the capacity of that infrastructure.

“The Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works continuously spews raw sewage into the Diep River, and Eskom load shedding is evidence of existing infrastructure failing to keep up with capacity demand,” she said. “The City needs to make their plans and thinking available for the greater community to understand how it intends to resolve these issues of unlawful informal settlements.”

“What infrastructure will the City be upgrading, and by when, in order to accommodate 1500 new dwelling units?” she said.

Des Palm is a Table View resident and the founder and director of CapeXit, a civic group whose main aim is for the Cape region to gain independence from South Africa. Mr Palm said moving the Dunoon residents under the pretext of it being a Covid-19 relief measure insulted people’s intelligence.

“We are all aware of how quickly informal settlements grow and how there is very little to no control over this from local government. Let’s assume this goes ahead and the City of Cape Town removes X number of people from the informal settlements. How will they guarantee the prevention of people just flooding in again to fill that void? On the other hand, they are going to relocate X number of people to an industrial area, where it will most certainly increase the possibility of crime in that area,” he said.

Those wishing to comment can find a form at http://www.capetown.gov.za/LandUseObjections and email it to comments_objections.blaauwberg@capetown.gov.za. Or write to the office of the Blaauwberg District Manager at 87 Pienaar Road, Milnerton.

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