1,500 Dunoon families still not relocated a year later
Housing project has been held up by appeals
- A year after initial promises, 1,500 families in Dunoon still await relocation.
- After government missed its own deadlines, the housing project has been further held up by business owners appealing a rezoning decision.
- A decision on the appeals is expected in May.
- The housing beneficiaries identification and administration process has also not started.
A year ago it was announced that 1,500 families living in overcrowded conditions in Dunoon would be relocated to decrease population density in the township. This was as the country entered the Covid-19 hard lockdown.
Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu announced that the relocation to Winning Way industrial park would happen by July 2020. But the families have still not been relocated.
The settlements from which the 1,500 families will be selected have been identified but the beneficiary administration process has not started yet. It is unclear how long this will take.
After Sisulu’s July deadline was missed, provincial human settlements department spokesperson Muneera Allie, in September 2020, said housing construction would begin in November 2020, with the 1,500 informal settlement and backyarder families being moved in 2021. But the promised housing construction has not begun.
Earlier this month, officials from the provincial human settlements department told the Dunoon Project Steering Committee that housing construction for the project will now start in June 2021. Even this may be optimistic.
Nathan Adriaanse, spokesperson at the provincial Department of Human Settlements, said that despite his department’s “every intention” to start construction, it may be delayed by required rezoning applications.
Adriaanse said his department submitted two rezoning applications in accordance with the municipal planning by-laws. These were submitted in May 2020 and June 2020. The two applications were approved by the City of Cape Town in September 2020 and November 2020 respectively, hence the possible November 2020 construction start date.
But, he says, appeals were lodged against the approvals, which meant no work could start until the appeals were heard by the municipal appeal authority. These were only heard on 9 March and 13 April.
“The decision on appeals usually takes five weeks from the date of the hearing. Should there be no delays we expect a decision around May 2021,” said Adriaanse.
Asked when the department anticipates delivering homes to beneficiaries, he said timelines could only be provided once the appeal process was concluded.
Renzo Schincariol, a factory owner and body corporate member at Racing Park business park adjacent to the land at Winning Way, said the Racing Park business owners are engaged in legal proceedings with the property owner who is selling the land to the Housing Development Agency (HDA).
Schincariol says the Racing Park development owners’ association is arguing that their approval was needed to sign off the transfer. They have appealed the rezoning application.
Spokesperson for the National Department of Human Settlements, Tuso Zibula, said it was ready to implement the project, but had been informed by the HDA that construction was halted by a legal challenge from the Racing Park development owner’s association
In July 2020, Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements Tertius Simmers said it would cost R180 million to construct the housing units, which will have a 30-year lifespan.
He said the provincial government would retain ownership of the units and they would be leased to the beneficiaries.
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