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Opposition to City of Cape Town’s business park plan

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The City wants to turn part of the Racing Park into emergency housing units

Photo of shacks along the railway line
Residents of Siyahlala informal settlement near Dunoon have been living next to the rail line for several years. The City of Cape Town now plans to relocate them to new housing at the neighbouring business park. Photo: Peter Luhanga
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Some business owners in the Racing Park near Dunoon are opposing the City of Cape Town’s plan to rezone the area from industrial to residential.

On 21 November, businesses were asked to comment on the City’s application to rezone three vacant plots, about 4,732 square metres of the industrial park. The proposed rezoned property will be added to land the City and provincial government bought for R64.6 million.

Renzo Schincariol, a factory owner and body corporate member at Racing Park, said the business owners were not opposed to homes being built there, but were concerned about infrastructure shortfalls like sewerage and traffic flow that were not addressed in the City’s application.

“The infrastructure won’t cope with new residential units. Public transport, which is mainly the MyCiTi bus service, is dysfunctional. We are for it if it is done properly. They need to upgrade the infrastructure drastically,” he said. He said the business park currently housed 74 businesses employing about 1,200 people from surrounding communities including Dunoon.

“The majority of our employees are from Dunoon. If you take away the industrial land, how are we going to create job opportunities?” he said.

It is believed that the rezoning is the City’s attempt to relocate some families from the nearby Siyahlala informal settlement whose shacks are built on the Transnet freight railway line. In 2018, GroundUp reported on a service delivery protest by Siyahlala residents which led to the suspension of freight trains along this route.

In its application, the City emphasised the urgency to implement its relocation plan. The City submitted two housing options should the rezoning be successful.

The first was to build prefabricated, single-storey structures with about 115 units between 25 square metres and 30 square metres. The second was to build three-storey apartment blocks with about 246 units of 21 square metre single srooms, with a bathroom shared between two units.

Either of these options would become a Temporary Relocation Area (TRA) for residents of Siyahlala in the short term and eventually house residents of the nearby Doornbach informal settlement when the area is redeveloped, states the application. In time, it is envisaged that these units will become an integrated part of the redevelopment of the Doornbach informal settlement.

In its application, the City said that the proposed Racing Park TRA would have a positive socio-economic impact on households relocated from Siyahlala and Doornbach by improving the quality of life for people currently living in dangerous conditions along the railway line.

“It will provide more secure housing structures, improved access to basic services, and links to economic opportunities … The integration of residential use within an industrial area is an opportunity to connect spatially disparate local communities and create a more tangible link between Dunoon and Doornbach informal settlements and Killarney Gardens,” the City said.

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