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Judge orders Joe Slovo residents to relocate

by Gabi Khumalo
on 10 Mar 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The court has ordered the remaining residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement to vacate their land and relocate to temporary houses in Delft.

Passing the ruling on Monday, Judge President John Hlophe said more than adequate temporary accommodation was being provided at the state's expense.

He said the occupants of the Joe Slovo informal settlement had an opportunity to live in better accommodation than they resided in presently.

"This accommodation is merely temporary, until such time as the restructuring, soil treatment, and building of permanent housing in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of Joe Slovo have been completed in terms of the government's housing policy, the N2 Gateway Housing Project and in line with the state's obligation to provide housing within its available resources," said Judge Hlophe.

The residents will stay in Delft until permanent homes are ready for occupation, he said.

"Transport, safety, educational, health and even pension needs have been catered for at the state's expense in order to help in alleviating difficulties that are inevitable in the circumstances of the respondents."

Judge Hlophe also found that the state's housing policy was "in no way attempting to re-enact the apartheid ghost of forced removals."

The relocation would work in phases according to the availability of temporary accommodation, with the first group of residents ordered to vacate their shacks by 17 March 2008.

Housing Director-General, Itumeleng Kotsoane said the judgment was important, not only to the people of Joe Slovo and Cape Town but to the nation.

He said many residents of Joe Slovo informal settlement would return to free houses in an integrated human settlement where they would live alongside people of different means and backgrounds.

"We have national and international imperatives to deal with informal settlements and contribute to the integration of our people," said Mr Kotsoane.

He said that it was critical to firmly establish the principle that cannot allow the relatively narrow interests of some individuals to block greater societal progress.

Mr Kotsoane further said that half the community relocated voluntarily to Delft following a thorough consultative process, which took place in Joe Slovo.

However, notwithstanding prior commitments to the contrary, the other half wants to stipulate what kind of houses they should be given and where they should be located.

"This is not sustainable, if we allow one community to dictate terms, we must allow all communities, the privilege and attitudes of this kind will radically decelerate and render unaffordable efforts to deal with slums," warned Mr Kotsoane.

He noted that the sooner residents of Joe Slovo relocated to Delft, the sooner they would benefit from permanent new homes.

Some would return to Joe Slovo and others' would be offered accommodation on other N2 Gateway building sites, he said.

More than 2000 Breaking New Ground homes are on the agenda for the third phase of the N2 Gateway Pilot Project development at Joe Slovo.

The 40 square metre homes with two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open plan living area, are given away free to South Africans qualifying for the full housing subsidy.

The N2 Gateway is a pioneering national initiative located in Cape Town to learn the practical steps, standards and measures required to translate the country's new housing policy into bricks and mortar on the ground. - BuaNews

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System


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