Statement by MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela: Cabinet's resolution on Joe Slovo
Last night, I met with the Joe Slovo task team and members of the community to report back on the discussions we had in Cabinet, and the resolution passed about implementing the Constitutional Court's decision.
As you are probably aware, the Constitutional Court recently ruled that the people of Joe Slovo could be evicted to make way for the continued development of the area under the auspices of the N2 Gateway project. However, the court also ruled that at least 70 percent of the development should be allocated to the residents of Joe Slovo.
We have in fact taken a decision, in consultation with the City of Cape Town, that all housing opportunities in this phase of development in Joe Slovo will be allocated to members of the Joe Slovo community. It doesn't make sense to bring other people in from other areas to an area that is already over-subscribed, and then have to uproot people who are established in the Joe Slovo community.
Even with a 100 percent allocation to people of Joe Slovo, we still needed to adjust our plans to try and accommodate more people in this project.
Thus, last month, Cabinet resolved that:
- Cabinet approves that housing in Joe Slovo should be densified to obtain optimal return on the scarce land asset.
- A phased construction be adopted.
- The Department obtain the full cooperation of the Joe Slovo community to the possible solutions available to them.
- The next batch of housing opportunities made available by the Department should be focused on backyarders.
As a general principle, we want to achieve a 50/50 split between informal settlement and backyard dwellers going forward, but we want to achieve this for the N2 Gateway project as a whole. We also need to take local circumstances into account when we consider any one development. In particular, we must distinguish between the upgrading of existing informal settlements, such as Joe Slovo, and Greenfield projects.
Implementing this decision does require a deviation from the original land availability agreement that was signed when the N2 Gateway Project was first started. Therefore, this requires a resolution by the full Council of the City, and this process must still be completed to finalise this matter.
The Department is in the process of consulting with the community of Joe Slovo about what densities can be achieved at a cost that is affordable in the context of the current subsidy, and we will be partnering with all stakeholders to map a way forward for this project. We have made a proposal to the Joe Slovo community in this regard, but the Project Steering Committee will finalise the details of the form that this development will take.
It is important that all stakeholders are represented on the Project Steering Committee - from the community's side, as well as from the side of the provincial government, the City, the developers and the Housing Development Agency (HDA), which will replace Thubelisha as the project manager on the N2 Gateway project.
We must avoid the mistakes of the past, and a crucial part of that is proper consultation and engagement with the representatives of everyone who will be affected by this project.
MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela
Western Cape Minister of Housing
Tel: 021 483 4798
Cell: 084 558 9989