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Joe Slovo residents voluntary reallocate

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 23 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

While some residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town wait for a court's judgement which will determine their future, others have started voluntarily moving to temporary relocation areas in Delft.

More than 50 families have relocated over the past week, with another 70 set to join them over the next week, according to Thubelisha, government's housing agent mandated to implement low-cost housing in the area.

The court last week agreed to hear the appeal of Joe Slovo residents against a Cape High Court judgement ordering their relocation to Delft to allow the development of the N2 Gateway Pilot Project to proceed.

The Constitutional Court has placed the matter on the roll for August.

This will determine whether residents of informal settlements have tenure rights over the specific piece of land presently occupied by their shacks.

Among the first families to relocate from Joe Slovo were fisherman Leach Kondile, his partner Nomvula Mazwi, and their nine-month-old son.

"I'm so happy we're out of there because I really got tired of the life in Joe Slovo," said Mr Kondile, while registering for a temporary site number.

Before being handed the keys to their temporary home, he signed a form consenting to the demolition of his shack in Joe Slovo.

Also relocating last week was the Lengisi family.

Princess Lengisi said: "We are moving because I'm going to get a house. It will be great for my children to have a place they can call home."

Thubelisha relocation official at Joe Slovo, Yolisa Maxawulana, said: "Everyone now wants to move. Wherever I go, people are shouting 'we want to move'. Healthwise, it's safer to move because winter is here.

"They also see others who have moved out of the temporary house are getting houses for free and they are saying 'wow, we can also get a house for nothing.'"

The N2 Gateway development General Manager Prince Xhanti Sigcawu, said Thubelisha and its co-applicants for the relocation order - the Minister of Housing, national and provincial departments of housing - were not opposed to canvassing the Constitutional Court directly because, the case involved important constitutional issues.

The first issues he said was that the decision would expedite the re-development of informal settlements across the country.

"Our non-opposition to taking the Constitutional Court route is not because we believe there is merit in the grounds of their prospective appeal. We will oppose the appeal," said Mr Sigwawu.

"We are determined to minimise further delays to the project," he said.

Other development in the area is that the contractors moved onto the site this week to begin earthworks in preparation for a show village of 52 Breaking New Ground homes.

These homes are given free to families qualifying for the full housing subsidy from government; and a layout plan for Joe Slovo Phase three, comprising 1 545 homes and space for a shopping hub stretching from the N2 around the corner to Vanguard Drive, has been submitted to the province and city for approval.

Since the beginning of the year, the N2 Gateway has been made news since the evictions of more than 1 000 backyard dwellers that were illegally occupying unfinished houses in the area.

The N2 is a national pilot project aiming to pioneer a new and improved housing policy that will see the delivery of more and better-quality houses for the poorest South Africans in integrated human settlements.

It entails providing 22 000 homes, associated infrastructure, community facilities, and access to transportation and economic opportunities.

The project has been paid for by all nine provinces, to provide decent homes for people currently living in informal settlements. - BuaNews

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