City Taking Steps to Address Over-Crowding in Imizamo Yethu | Western Cape Government

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City Taking Steps to Address Over-Crowding in Imizamo Yethu

23 October 2006
The City of Cape Town is to act on the fire safety and environmental health hazards posed by overcrowding in the "Pipetrack" area of Imizamo Yethu informal settlement, Hout Bay.

Interviews are currently being conducted with families who have expressed a willingness to move out of Imizamo Yethu to other, less overcrowded areas in Cape Town, where they will be able to receive better support services.

The City has to ensure the safety of the greater Hout Bay water supply. Shacks are being built close to the reservoir, which poses a pollution risk. Dwellings have also been erected in the roads and between other shacks, preventing City staff from entering the area to maintain the reservoir, and blocking off access for fire-fighting and emergency vehicles.

Apart from safety considerations, the density of the settlement also has to be reduced for so that services can be put in place.

The high densities are due to various reasons:

  • The Irish benefactor Nial Mellon, with his commendable initiative, has built 450 houses in Imizamo Yethu. This has restricted the amount of land available and the informal dwellers have moved up the hill.
  • The fire that swept through the area in February 2004 destroyed 570 homes. Families were temporarily relocated while the burnt area was re-developed. Not all the families could return once the work was completed and some 300 persons are still displaced.
  • The previous Mayor placed a moratorium on the demolishing of dwellings erected by newcomers to the area. This added more persons to an already over-populated area.

Various planning options for the 18ha "Forestry Station" site in Hout Bay are currently being evaluated in order to improve living conditions for the residents of the settlement, but the use of the land is currently restricted by a court order and is not yet available for any kind of development.

Issued by:
Directorate: Communication and Marketing
City of Cape Town
Tel: 021 400 2201
Fax: 021 957 0023

Media queries:
Cllr Dan Plato
Mayoral Committee Member for Housing
Tel: 021 400 1304

Media Enquiries: