Cape Town - The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government on Wednesday unveiled ambitious plans for transforming Manenberg.
Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo promised the residents of one of the most volatile suburbs in the country a R3 billion “skyscraper” medical facility as part of the plan to urbanise the area through the Violence Prevention through, Urban Upgrading project.
Addressing the media, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced the city’s commitment to upgrading and investing in the area by integrating the ideas of local leaders from the Community Policing Forum and NGOs.
“Residents want to see Manenberg go from a dormitory area to a safe, secure, diverse, vibrant, innovative, attractive, cohesive and substantial neighbourhood,” she said.
However, the city could not indicate a budget or a specific timeframe.
It plans on building a youth lifestyle campus comprised of six precincts that will include education facilities and student residences, sport facilities and “green open spaces” that are linked. The plans also highlight the development of a “safe pedestrian and cycle network” as well as the “enhancement of buildings”.
The Western Cape government was also roped into the city’s plans with Mbombo committing to building a regional hospital in the area that would “offer a higher level of care than GF Jooste originally provided”.
She said once a “business case” for the rebuilding of the GF Jooste site – which had been vandalised in recent months – had been finalised, the department would look at the re-allocation of the hospital. It would then take 12 to 18 months to build at an estimated cost of R3bn.
Mbombo indicated that the Western Cape cabinet had on Wednesday given the Department of Health the go-ahead to search for a vacant lot on which to build a state-of-the-art facility.
When asked why the department had decommissioned the GF Jooste Hospital on July 4 last year without a potential building site already in mind, Mbombo said: “Three years ago with my predecessor (then-Health MEC Theuns Botha) it was about demolishing the building and then rebuilding. But now we have to consider the different medical demands which had fluctuated the initial plans.”
The city also shed light on its plans for the Safety and Security Policing and Community Training College set to be developed on the site of the derelict hospital.
The Cape Argus first reported that the college would cost up to R350 million, and would take five years to complete.
Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said the training college would house metro police trainees, metro and regional law enforcement, cadets and youthacademy camps on its 4.5 hectare plot.
Smith said the city spent R4.5m on training auxiliary officers who would man safety kiosks that would be deployed in Manenberg during the first phase roll-out.
Contrary to expectation, the Manenberg Community Policing Forum, Safety Forum and local residents condemned the city’s plans, saying they were not consulted on either the city’s intention to invest in Manenberg nor the plans to relocate GF Jooste.
The forum’s Roegshanda Pascoe said: “Please people, wake up and smell the political propaganda, this is just to secure a vote for the next elections.”