Pretoria - Plans by the City of Tshwane to establish a new township called Pretorius Park Extension 4, to accommodate people living in Plastic View informal settlement, have been hampered by objections to the project and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shedding light on the lack of progress on the plans, City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said that physical development of the site could not proceed unless the township establishment application and a general plan were approved.
The plans include the establishment of a mixed-residential township to accommodate 853 families from Plastic View , which is 900m from the Pretorius Park site.
The development will consist of flats and townhouses to cater for qualifying residents in different income brackets. It is to be situated on the remainder of portion 284 of the Farm Garstfontein 374-JR, measuring 6.4hectares and located just east of the Woodlands Shopping Centre.
Bokaba said a township establishment application went before council last year, and was submitted for approval to the City’s Spatial Planning and Economic Development Department on November 11 but has not been approved due to a number of objections and the impact of the pandemic and lockdown.
He said: “In the event that objections can be resolved, it is anticipated that approval will be obtained towards the middle of 2021, whereafter physical development on site could possibly commence later in 2021 but subject to availability of funding for this purpose.”
Some residents in affluent surrounding suburbs, such as Woodlands, Woodhill Golf Estate, Mooikloof, Featherwood and The Wilds estate have been unhappy about the development on their doorstep.
Bokaba said: “Environmental authorisation for this project was granted by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on November 21 2018, which enabled the appointed service provider to submit a township establishment application.”
He said the planning processes including the compilation of pre-planning studies such as the traffic impact studies, engineering geological report, environmental authorisation and submission of a township establishment application has already started some time ago.
He said physical construction could only commence after the township establishment approval.
“Current indications are that physical construction will commence in late 2021, but this will be dependent on various factors including the availability of funding for this purpose,” Bokaba said.
It was previously indicated that at least 151 families out of about 853 from Plastic View were eligible to be relocated to the planned township because the majority living there were foreigners.
Bokaba said undocumented residents did not qualify for housing assistance in terms of the Housing Act 107 of 1997.
“The City will, however, in future in consultation with various role-players and government departments, in particular Home Affairs, map a way forward,” Bokaba said.
Calls for relocations from the township have been in the pipeline for years, as the area is overcrowded, prone to fires, and lacks basic services for suitable living conditions.
It has also been caught-up in issues of the legality of the residents there, most of them allegedly undocumented, and is, according to the police and some residents, a crime hotbed.