Premier Zille and Mayor De Lille unveil historic plans for Manenberg
Today it is our pleasure to announce historic plans for upgrading and investment in Manenberg, with a view to urban transformation in the suburb as a whole.
Manenberg has been identified as a priority area for upliftment by the Province and the City, given how deeply and tragically this suburb is affected by urban decay, and the resulting crises of drug abuse and gangsterism.
We want to help make the Manenberg of residents’ dreams a reality. With these plans we are re-imagining the suburb as a connected place of safe streets, innovative education facilities, excellent public healthcare, and opportunities for training, skills development and small business.
We believe this vision can only be achieved through building social cohesion, participatory planning and partnerships. These are the non-negotiables for successful urban infrastructure development.
The objective, ultimately, is to improve the quality of life of citizens.
Over the past months, the Province and City have been involved in an extensive community engagement process in Manenberg and have compiled a Community Action Plan (CAP) and a Public Investment Framework (PIF).
The Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) project has been driving this process.
The vision of the people of Manenberg has been central to these plans. Residents want to see Manenberg go from a dormitory area to a safe, secure, diverse, vibrant, innovative, attractive, cohesive, and sustainable neighbourhood.
In order to achieve this vision, a truly participatory process has been undertaken to build trust and partnerships.
A project steering committee was set up to include community stakeholders from the area, such as youth, NGOs, CBOs, and the Community Policing Forum. Ward Committees took part at specific stages as well.
A two-day Community Action Workshop was held at the end of February to discuss the PIF, with at least five sessions around interactive visioning that included large-scale maps with ideas by local leaders being visualised.
Walk-abouts in all areas of the community were conducted so that local leaders could point out the positives and negatives that should be considered in development plans. Feedback sessions on the PIF continued into this week and we have received a very positive response from the community.
The approach taken in Manenberg fundamentally shifts government’s delivery model towards one that takes guidance from the needs of the citizens, and ensures that both community and public sector leadership are partners in development.
The proposed transformation of Manenberg is to be achieved through two main interventions – investment in people, and investment in infrastructure.
After our consultation with the community, specific priority areas have been identified, including: investment in the youth, investment in health facilities and investment in safety.
Investment in the youth
Our vision is to build – in Manenberg – a Youth Lifestyle Campus that is structured into six precincts, each with a unique character responding to the needs of the community and surrounding areas.
The precincts would include: an Ecological Precinct; a Technology and Media Precinct; an Innovation, Economic Skills and Development Precinct; a Wellness Precinct; a Social Innovation, Highroad Precinct; and a Sport Precinct.
The very nature of a ‘campus’ entails a collection of buildings comprising education facilities and student residences, sport facilities and green open spaces working together as a system. Currently, Manenberg does not embody this, but we intend to change this.
There are currently 14 primary schools, three high schools, a private centre of excellence and 27 ECD centres in Manenberg.
The schools are typically loosely located on large land parcels where, in most cases, portions of school grounds are undefined and underutilised. These grounds have become a risk to learners as they are often sites for illegal dumping and gang activity. This must change.
Going forward, we envisage a connection of these sites via a promenade to create a learning archipelago: a collection of ‘islands’ or learning hubs.
Construction will include a safe pedestrian and cycle network, as well as the enhancement of buildings using the VPUU’s ‘active box’ concept. This concept traditionally consists of a structure that is well lit, visible at all times and has some form of activity, placed as a deterrent on a route that is perceived to be dangerous. This assists in making the surroundings a safe space while allowing the community to participate in various activities.
Overall, this development will shift Manenberg to a safe, stimulating, attractive, vibrant, connected and sustainable neighbourhood.
Investment in health facilities
The WCG is planning to build a regional hospital in Manenberg to complement the newly built district hospital facilities in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.
A regional hospital will offer a higher level of care than GF Jooste originally provided, which was a district hospital.
This upgraded facility would offer the community additional specialist care services. These include specialised obstetric and gynaecological services, paediatric services, anaesthetic services, mental health services, specialised radiology and general and orthopaedic surgery.
A business case for the rebuilding of GF Jooste Hospital is being developed, which is due for completion in 2015/2016.
As the current GF Jooste site is too small to accommodate this vision, various other sites in Manenberg will be assessed as part of our Public Investment Framework.
Previously the Manenberg and surrounding area was served solely by GF Jooste Hospital, which was a district hospital.
In the interim, both Khayelitsha District Hospital and Mitchells Plain District Hospital have been built.
The rebuilding of GF Jooste as a regional hospital will make Manenberg one of the best-serviced public healthcare areas in the country, served by three
major facilities where previously there was only one.
Investment in safety
The City of Cape Town has expressed an interest in acquiring the old GF Jooste Hospital site for the purposes of its Safety and Security Policing and Community Training College.
This may possibly further serve as a deployment base for the City’s Metro Police enforcement staff in the area, with the intention to foster partnerships with communities and locate services within the areas of greatest need.
The site suits the needs of both a training and deployment centre and would more than likely require a combination of rebuilding and refurbishing. Large portions of the existing building complex are structurally sound with a layout and configuration that is more or less consistent with the requirements of the City.
The Western Cape Cabinet has today in principle approved the sale of the site to the City and the process of identifying an alternative site for the regional hospital development. Should the acquisition go ahead, the City will commence work on a concept that will inform the required budget and relevant timeframes.
Such an investment would not only strengthen the City’s enforcement mandate through ongoing training of staff members, but it would also have a direct benefit to the surrounding communities through access to the Metro Police Department’s Youth Academy.
For a suburb so inflicted by gangsterism, the gaining of a permanent metro police presence right in the heart of Manenberg would be an historic development for residents.
The City’s Safety and Security directorate and the Western Cape Community Safety Department continue to work tirelessly to take back this community from the grips of gang leaders and drug lords. We have recently spent R4,5 million on training auxiliary officers who will man safety kiosks that will be deployed in Manenberg during the first phase roll-out.
These safety kiosks are being introduced in order to bring effective, stable and efficient law enforcement services almost to the doorsteps of the communities that they serve, ensuring the availability of call-up systems during incidents such as gang flare-ups.
The ongoing gang violence in Manenberg has, for instance, often threatened the progress of the City’s Community Residential Unit refurbishment project in the area. Despite these recurrent disruptions, we have remained committed to the completion of the work in order to improve the lives of residents. More than 1 500 out of the 1 584 rental units in Manenberg have now been successfully refurbished.
Investment in people and investment in infrastructure
In addition to the above planned interventions, there are several current initiatives aimed at socio-economic development in Manenberg that need to be highlighted:
• the rehabilitation of Klipfontein Road at a cost of R18 million, which is scheduled for completion in November this year;
• the upgrading of parks and installation of new equipment and fencing, including the Manenberg Urban Park, Venster Park, Houw Hoek Road Park, Sherwood Park, and Seine Road Park;
• the identification of Manenberg as a priority area for the Smart Trees programme whereby large trees will be planted during this financial year;
• reading sessions at the Manenberg Library for preschool children as well as holiday programmes at libraries and recreation centres to give learners an opportunity to expand their social and creative skills;
• free internet access through SmartCape facilities in the Manenberg Library;
• the provision of a synthetic soccer pitch, worth R5,5 million, which is used daily by male and female teams; and
• investment in an alcohol and substance abuse treatment site in Ruimte Road, which opened in February this year.
The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government will continue to build on the successes to ensure that Manenberg is a safe, integrated and economically enabling environment for local residents and Capetonians as a whole.
The way forward
The public consultations initiated on the PIF will continue and expand through a series of conversations.
This will include continued engagement with the Manenberg leadership forum, a further broader forum that invites identified NGOs and other groups, as well as engagement with school governing bodies and other stakeholders in the community.
Parallel to this step, the City of Cape Town’s Area Coordinating Team (ACT), Sub-council and the Mayor’s Urban Regeneration Programme meetings will be used to communicate buy-in for the Public Investment Framework.
While on the Western Cape Government’s side, communication will occur via the technical working group of Heads of Departments’ (HODs), leading to a Cabinet resolution.
The second step in this process is to operationalise the PIF via a joint sitting of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Forum (IGC) to agree on roles and responsibilities.
The third step is to sign the intergovernmental agreement and implement the PIF accordingly. As we speak, the City of Cape Town has already allocated funding for the 2015/2016 financial year to start implementation measures for the Youth Lifestyle Campus.
As you can see, there is much to be done, but we believe that if we rally together as the whole of society we can transform Manenberg into the vibrant, safe and sustainable community we all dream of.
We encourage everyone in the City and Province to rally behind this plan and make it a reality.