Cape Town - There are no plans to develop low-cost housing on land along the R27 near Blouberg, and the City of Cape Town says it will investigate the release of a “fraudulent” document with the city’s official logo that claimed the proposal was being mooted.
Hundreds of concerned West Coast residents who packed the Blouberg Library on Monday night to attend a special meeting about Erf 1117 were relieved to hear that there are no immediate plans to develop more than 13 000 “RDP” houses on the site.
But many felt that the meeting was a “wasted hour” that left questions about the future use of the land unanswered.
Des Palm, of the Table View Ratepayers’ Association, said questions from residents were either ignored or poorly answered.
“One hour, about 900 people, eight questions. A wasted hour.”
The venue was packed to capacity, with many residents having to listen to the meeting from outside.
Benedicta van Minnen, the city’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, said the meeting was called to “set the record straight”.
She emphasised that Erf 1117 belongs to the national Department of Public Works and not the city or the provincial government.
“The City of Cape Town does not have plans to develop a low-cost housing development (on the land).”
The city was approached by Public Works at the end of last year to find out whether the municipality would compensate the department if the land was transferred.
“The city turned it down, but it is interested in acquiring the land because it is strategic land, and it has therefore appeared in a number of city documents.”
However, the land did not form part of the city’s housing plan, and in fact the city’s focus for human settlements was along the Voortrekker Corridor and the south-east of the metro. She added that the city was also in negotiations for a large piece of land for housing elsewhere in the city.
Any future plans to develop on the site would require rezoning applications and a full environmental impact assessment, as well as extensive public participation.
She said rumours that the city had its eye on the land for a development were “blatantly untrue” and being spread by “people with an agenda”.
A document entitled “City of Cape Town Built Environment Performance Plan”, and dated June 2015 containing information about the proposed development, has been posted on social media.
But Van Minnen said the document, which bears the city’s official logo, was fraudulent. She said a complaint had been lodged with Speaker Dirk Smit, who was at Monday’s meeting, to investigate.
As Erf 1117 did not belong to the city, it would not be able to evict the people who have set up temporary structures on the site, she explained.
There were plans to move informal dwellers in Radar Road in Richwood to Wolwerivier, but this relocation would not apply to the Happy Valley informal dwellers as they were on privately-owned land.