Call to revert to 2012 redevelopment plan for District Six, Newsline

Cape Town – The District Six Beneficiary Trust, another interest group fighting for the redevelopment of the area, wants to replace the redevelopment plan that the national government released last year and worked out with the City and the District Six Working Committee.

The trust wants to replace it with a 2012 plan it had with the City, province and national government at the time.

The trust’s interim chairperson, Nadeem Hendricks, said: “The District Six Trust drove the process, often across impossible obstacles, to a point where a viable solution for District Six was formulated.

“The 2012 development framework and business plan was formed in conjunction with the national government, province and the City. Why are they ignoring it?”

Hendricks said the trust had withdrawn from the process because of various other groups’ agendas.

“Why is this plan gathering dust? We believe time is up. It has come to our attention that besides this, the City wants to sell pockets of erven land in District Six to private developers,” he said.

Call to revert to 2012 redevelopment plan for District Six, Newsline
District Six Beneficiary Trust members Judge Seraj Desai and Nadeem Hendricks addressed former District Six residents yesterday. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

A process was under way with residents and the City to develop a Local Spatial Development Framework (LSDF) plan for the area. The purpose of this plan was, among others, to formulate a vision and related policy guidelines and intervention projects.

The City is responsible for the drafting of an LSDF for the area as well as the approval of land use and building plan submissions. The City’s immediate focus will be on public realm improvements – the open spaces and amenities of the future District Six.

The national government will be responsible for the overall redevelopment of District Six, and the construction of houses for beneficiaries.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza submitted her framework plan in December last year. The plan is one of the most crucial in the District Six restitution case. It means that the state can be held to the budget and time frames provided, which will ultimately ensure that the redevelopment of the remaining dwellings for the 954 claimants who filed in 1998 are finalised in early 2020.

Once these claimants have their dwellings, claimants from 2014 to 2016, numbering about 1500, will be next on the State’s agenda.

The plan outlines 954 units that can be allocated to individual claimants. The proposed plan entails about 13 hectares of land and leaves 13.39ha available to accommodate high-density typologies to be used for other, future claimants. The department has made provision for more than 6000 units.

The City has denied the assertion about land being “privatised”.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said: “I want to point out that there are many stakeholders and interested parties, groupings and working groups who are participating in the refinement of the LSDF for District Six.

“The trust represents one of these groupings. The people who were evicted from District Six have been waiting for decades to return, they are understandably upset and feel, rightly so, that the national government has failed them by delaying their return for over 22 years.

“It is unclear where the trust is getting this information and why they are making these claims.”

Cape Argus