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Tshwane curb on Plastic View homes

Following a fire last week, residents of Plastic View have opted to replace the shacks with formal structures. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Following a fire last week, residents of Plastic View have opted to replace the shacks with formal structures. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 27, 2020

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Pretoria - Residents of Plastic View informal settlement are not allowed to build permanent structures as this would be against the City of Tshwane by-laws and building regulations.

Part of the settlement was gutted by fire last week after which the residents started building formal houses.

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Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the metro still had plans to develop a mixed residential development for residents of the settlement east of the capital, most of them foreign nationals who do not qualify for government-subsidised housing.

However, he said: “Those who will not be accommodated through subsidised low-cost houses will be considered for low rental options. The City will also work with the Department of Home Affairs to address the issue of undocumented foreign nationals.”

He said the City appointed the service provider to establish a mixed residential township to be known as Pretorius Park Extension 40, which would accommodate 853 families from Plastic View.

The development will be at a remainder of portion 284 of the Farm Garsfontein 374-JR, measuring 6.4ha and located in Region 6, just east of the Woodlands Shopping Centre.

The site is located 900m from the informal settlement.

“The development site has among other things been identified as a resettlement area to accommodate the beneficiaries from Plastic View and the nearby Cemetery View. This development will contribute much to the objective of the City to dismantle the apartheid spatial patterns.

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“The development conforms to the principles of the National Development Plan, Gauteng Spatial Development Framework and Regional Spatial Development Framework.

“All of the above plans spearhead the principles of spatial justice, spatial resilience, spatial sustainability and spatial quality.”

Following the recent fire, community leaders said they were intentionally no longer using plastic sheets to build shelters because “these will burn again”.

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Benjamin Sithole and John Mayiwa said the City and provincial government had not been able to relocate the informal settlement since 2009. They said the people were tired of losing their homes again and again.

Sithole said: “To be honest I don’t think the City knows what to do with Plastic View. They should just allow those who have money to build permanent structures.

“The City is frustrated by Plastic View and I can understand. There are more than 15000 people living here and only about 800 are registered. The rest are in the country illegally and cannot qualify for housing. That’s why nothing will happen here.”

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Human rights lawyer Louise du Plessis said she could understand why the people would build such structures to protect themselves against fires and crime. However, legally the land belonged to the City and they did not have permission to build; anything to the contrary would be a contravention of town planning laws.

Du Plessis said there was also going to be an issue of complaints from the homeowners associations in the affluent neighbourhoods who did not want the informal settlement there. “The City really does not know what to do with this place because they also do not want to deal with the issue of what happens to the many residents who are not South African citizens.

“The City does not want to look at the option of decamping the settlement around in a very organised way around some of the land they own there. They wanted to move them around the Mamelodi and Cullinan side, but I don’t know what happened to that plan. They said they don’t want to continue building informal settlements because of the history of the country. Also, we know they could make a lot of money from the land from taxis that decamp around the Plastic View area because that land is worth a lot,” Du Plessis said.

“People are starting to build with bricks to protect their families,” resident Munyaradzi Dika said:

Patience Mashaba said: “I lost all my clothes, furniture and tuck shop in a 2018 fire. A formal building will mean I am safe against fires, cold and crime.”

Pretoria News

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