Agste Laan in Valhalla Park will be one of several informal settlements benefiting from the Human Settlements Directorate, which will spend approximately R134 million on backyarder and informal settlement upgrade projects across the city. Picture: Jason Boud
Cape Town – The Community of Agste Laan informal settlement in Valhalla Park near Bonteheuwel is over the moon after hearing that their area will get a R50.8 million upgrade.

The upgrade is held up as a model of successful community consultations, which have seen contractors already moving in with their site preparations.

The City said the upgrade is set to greatly improve the lives of the residents “and will go a long way towards creating a sense of place in the community, with its formalised layout and community-friendly design”.

Andriens Danester, a community leader within the Agste Laan area said: “I’m very excited because at present we are busy putting up plans for the construction and contractors that are coming in. It is very exciting.”

The formalised layout will allow the city to provide an enhanced level of basic services. Each of the 580 residential plots will have access to its own toilet and metered water and electricity connections.

The redesign will also allow for the provision of public lighting, which could not be done previously due to the density of the structures.

“What I want is for people to better their lives because I’d rather prefer to spend money to better our lives. What they must do is give you a plot and proper roads, so that an ambulance can come and pick up people, because currently ambulances can’t.”

The city said that formal erven will be created, which can be transferred with title deeds to qualifying beneficiaries.

Those who do not qualify, those with other properties registered in their name, those who have previously been allocated a housing opportunity and foreign nationals will not get ownership, but will be issued a certificate of tenure.

“This is the biggest thing happening for us in Agste Laan,” said Adrian Lawrence, a resident in the area.

“The money for the upgrade should be spent on the necessary stuff we need like education, specifically community education, how to liaise between the neighbours, drug abuse and rehabilitation and mostly that a person can have the dignity of having their own property."

“That will uplift and empower a person who previously never had an opportunity to have a proper house." 

“There is a lot employment issues, drug issues and the education issues and that even with the upgrades there should be work allocated for the disabled people."

“Ultimately this is the most fantastic thing that local government did for the community.”

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for Informal Settlements, Water, Waste Services and Energy, also added her thoughts on what would be tackled first within the area.

“Pressing issues that will be addressed include access to basic services like water and electricity, the provision of public lighting, and construction of roads and public open spaces,” she said.

“Furthermore, the transfer of title deeds can be instrumental in facilitating economic opportunities.”

The city mentioned that should all go according to plan, the site should be completed by the end of 2018.

Cape Argus