City of Cape Town’s R50.8 million Agste Laan informal settlement upgrade under way

If construction was able to proceed as planned, the site should be completed by the end of 2018.

Community consultations for the upgrade of the Agste Laan informal settlement in Valhalla Park have been concluded and contractors have begun their site preparations, the City of Cape Town said on Sunday.

“The R50.8 million upgrade to transform the lives of these residents will go a long way towards creating a sense of place in the community, with its formalised layout and community-friendly design,” mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy Xanthea Limberg said.

If construction was able to proceed as planned, the site should be completed by the end of 2018. Constant co-operation from the beneficiaries would be of paramount importance, she said.

The formalised layout would allow the city to provide an enhanced level of basic services. Each of the 580 residential plots would have access to its own toilet and metered water and electricity connections. The redesign would also allow for the provision of public lighting. This could not be done previously due to the density of the structures.

As part of the upgrade, formal erven would be created which could be transferred with title deeds to qualifying beneficiaries. The progressive realisation of tenure was one of the key thrusts of the city’s new organisational development and transformation plan. This enhanced service delivery plan was about finding ways of igniting hope by enabling opportunities and services in a more localised, area-based manner, Limberg said.

Those who did not qualify, ie those with other properties registered in their name, those who had previously been allocated a housing opportunity, and foreign nationals, would not get ownership but would be issued a certificate of tenure.

A series of meetings with the community was held to inform the design, as well as to explain what the process of upgrading the settlement entailed, she said.

Residents also took the opportunity to highlight their preference for space to be set aside for places of worship and early childhood development centers and this was included in the project specifications. In addition to the design inputs residents would be able to exercise their influence by choosing a street naming theme.

“Given the crippling land shortage in the city, these informal settlement upgrades will become more and more integral to ensuring that residents receive higher levels of service. We urge communities, residents, and organisations to work with us in the same way that the community of Agste Laan has done so that together we can find and implement workable and sustainable solutions for the urban realities that we, as a metro and as a country, face,” Limberg said.

“The density of informal settlements often jeopardises provision of basic and emergency services. In addition, designs such as this can also improve safety in the community. The creation of roads concentrates the movement of pedestrians and as such limits the opportunities for criminals to strike,” mayoral committee member for area central Siyabulela Mamkeli said.

“Furthermore, the creation of public open spaces, especially where the community takes ownership of the spaces, provides the opportunity for children to have safer spaces to play,” Mamkeli said.

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