Promises promises

Lutz van Dijk, Masiphumelele

Dear mayor Dan Plato, and Fish Hoek ward councillor and mayoral committee member for urban development, FelicityPurchase.

When I had to leave South Africa a few months ago due to urgent family matters, I did not imagine that the positive outlook to upgrade Masiphumelele, agreed and signed by community leaders
and previous mayor Patricia de Lille, did not come to any practical results even almost a year later.

And worse, not even the long promised plan for development, the so-called “Masiphumelele spatial development framework” (SDF) has been shared with those most affected, and has been still withheld for public participation.

The latest promise collapsed in October after the resignation of Brett Herron, the previous Mayco member for urban development. No progress was made most of last year at the phase 4 housing project on part of erf 5131 which as been promised to the community for almost two decades now.

There is enough City-owned land for integrated housing in our valley (like the huge remainder of erf 5131 or the bigger part of the former Solole Farm which is partly used now fo the construction of a fire station).

The positive construction of this fire station and a new taxi rank at the entrance of Masi should never be an excuse for further delay of the much longer promised completion of the phase 4 housing project.

However, where information is lacking, rumours are growing.

This letter is meant to defeat rumors and finally get the correct and complete information on the following points.

1. Why has the Masiphumelele spatial development framework (SDF) been made accessible so far only to some selected individual neighbours of Masi, but not to the community and leadership of Masi and all other affected villages next to Masi ?

2. Is it true that there are plans to build a new road between Kommetjie and Noordhoek which partly goes through the informal wetlands settlement of Masiphumelele where at least 10 000 residents have been living under extremely poor conditions for many years?

3. Is it true that those families and their shacks (which are in the way of the new road) will be relocated just to another informal settlement
with all its problems
on the same erf 5131 which was dedicated for new housing and should be therefore not blocked for future decent housing as another new trouble informal area?

4. Is it true that this new road will be made “safe against crime from Masi” with a 2m-high wall?

5. Some neighbours of Masi (like in Lochiel and Guinea Fowl Road) were told that the City wants to purchase their homes “for a market-related price”, as “an expansion of Masi is planned”. Instead of supporting ways to co-operate in building integrated communities, it looks as if neighbours are
set up against each other.

If all these most worrying rumours are not true, you can dismantle them best by finally publishing the “Masiphumelele Spatial Development Framework” (SDF) online and by making copies available in local libraries and other public places. As far as we know it is still a draft document of ca. 40 pages only, suggesting more general guidelines than a detailed plan. You might be surprised by creative answers and suggestions from ordinary residents from all over our valley. The longer it is kept as a secret to most, the longer rumours and mistrust will grow.

* Felicity Purchase, Fish Hoek ward councillor and mayoral committee member for urban development and transport, responds:

The document signed by mayor De Lille, the Human Rights Commissioner and the Public Protector together with some community members has indeed been given effect to. Regular monthly meetings are held with the Masi task team and the Public Protector’s representative together with the ward councillor and PR councillor for the area.

The report on service delivery is also shared with the task team members and PP and HRC on a monthly basis. It is also shared with the Far South Peninsula Community Forum for information.

The clauses around various land parcels state that the provision of housing will be done within the legislative framework which is what the City is legally obliged to do as we cannot work outside the law. This has been explained repeatedly to the community with updates on various matters monthly.

To say that the Masi spatial development framework has not been shared with elected leadership of Masi is also not true. On Wednesday October 10, a meeting was held with all leaders and organisations on the City’s database from Masi to present the development framework to them.

A meeting was also held with the Sunnydale Ratepayers’ Association, as well as other local associations in the Fish Hoek Noordhoek Valley, on the 9th and 11th.

It was hoped to be able to take it to the public participation process in November, however, the appointment of consultants to do this was unsuccessful and was only finalised at the end of November. We do not do participation over the holiday period as many people go away, and will therefore start the process towards end of January. This will be in the form of open days where the communities can see the documents and be taken through all aspects of it to allow for informed comments. This has been conveyed to the leadership continuously with updates.

I personally have informed Tshepo Moletsane, who is one of Mr Van Dijk’s chosen leaders in Masi.

The resignation of the previous Mayco member, Brett Herron, had nothing to do with the administrative process the officials were engaged in.
The phase 4 housing project has continued although the construction of the top structures was delayed for a bit, the subsidy applications process has continued and there have been many meetings of the beneficiary group
to keep them

The reason for the delay is because the beneficiaries chose the PHP housing model with project management by City officials. Building plans have been approved. The site office was established and the contractors are in the process of casting foundations.

The professional team has been appointed to do the EIA and water licence applications for the remainder of erf 5131 and a scoping of the potential development is being carried out in the meantime.

The different projects which are under way in the Masi precinct of Sunnydale which include the fire station and Masi taxi rank, both of which will be completed early in 2019, are completely separate developments and have no influence on the development framework, or the phase 4 housing project. Neither do they influence additional projects like the proposed Houmoed Road extension phase 2, nor the proposed housing for erf 5131.

The proposed Houmoed Road extension phase 2, and phase 1, have been on the unmade proposed roads certainly since the late 1990s when the first application to develop them was made.

There is a process of EIA and water use licence which has been taking place with
all interested and affected parties over the past few years and has finally seen the submission of those applications to the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and national Department of Water Affairs.

The Masi community were extensively engaged in this process which will see an upgrade of the area and the opportunity to finally allow for provision of flush toilets and electricity to an area that is currently unable to be serviced for practical reasons.

The proposed developments will all be synchronised to follow each other. The planning and budgetary processes will have to follow legal frameworks and no development will block another

The proposed road is required to protect the wetland from further degradation and allow
it to be rehabilitated.

The Lochiel Road small holdings precinct has been identified for the natural expansion of community services uses and this had indeed already to some extent occurred with the provision of the training centre, the Masi High School, the Desmund Tutu youth centre, two ECDs or creches, social development use etc.

This area already has significant job creation with the nurseries
and agricultural uses among others.

There are other community needs which we are looking to address and these include another primary school and another clinic/ day hospital facility. At some point SAPS will also decide to build a police station and we are looking at places for this. This is the context.

We are in favour of integrated communities and in fact are having this occur spontaneously in the valley.