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3 000 families must move

Published May 27, 2015


Cape Town -

If the airport runway alignment plan is given the green light, only 2 738 homes will be built for people from Blikkiesdorp, the Malawi Camp and Freedom Farm informal settlements, despite many more families living there.

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The number of houses planned is contained in an agreement between the City and Airports Company SA (Acsa), dealing in part with the R3.4 billion expansion of Cape Town International Airport.

A copy of the memorandum of agreement (MOA), leaked to the Cape Times, says Malawi Camp residents will be relocated as a “priority”.

“The parties undertake to work together to find an alternative solution for the relocation of the residents… who cannot be accommodated,” says the document.

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The MOA, which governs the management of land use to the east of the airport and takes into consideration its future expansion, is signed by City manager Achmat Ebrahim and Deon Cloete on behalf of Acsa. It is dated February 20, 2015.

It says that the expansion will require the acquisition of land surrounding the airport and affect the communities.

The runway will be completed in 2019 if the project goes ahead.

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Acsa spokesperson Deborah Francis declined to comment on the agreement, but said: “We are not just going to do this and bulldoze over people’s homes. We are following due process.”

Under the agreement, more than 387 000 people may be subjected to noise that exceeds guidelines, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) says, but the runway realignment will increase the number of aircraft that can land and take off. It is also estimated that 950 job opportunities will be created.

Meanwhile, the Blikkiesdorp joint committee said the community was increasingly angry that they had not been adequately consulted about the move. They appealed to residents to remain calm.

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The committee’s Ettienne Claasen said they would meet the City soon to discuss the relocation.

“The community is angry, they want to take action,” Claasen said.

“How can we all move Blikkiesdorp to a place, with Malawi Park and Freedom Farm, with 2 700 homes.

“How will there be space. Blikkiesdorp already has about 20 000 people.”

In response, Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said discussions regarding the relocation of the settlements had been going on for many years.

“Blikkiesdorp was established for the purpose of providing emergency shelter to the city’s more vulnerable residents,” she said.

Van Minnen added that people living in Malawi Camp and Freedom Farm were aware that they could not remain on the land because it could not be developed for residential purposes.

The City would not supply the Cape Times with the MOA and Van Minnen would not say how many people lived in these areas, nor confirm how many homes would be built.

She also would not address who would be funding the move.

“The proposed project involving the rehousing of the two informal settlements and Blikkiesdorp is still in the early stages of planning. Details, such as the kind of housing opportunities and number of residents qualifying for housing subsidies, are still in the process of being attended to and finalised,” she said.

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Cape Times

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