The City of Cape Town has partnered with construction company Group Five to refurbish the former Everite factory hostels between Brackenfell and Kraaifontein, creating 1 000 new Gap houses in the process.
The Everite factory was built in Brackenfell more than 60 years ago, but closed its doors when the company moved to Johannesburg in 2005. Everite now forms part of Group Five.
Factory workers were given permission to remain in the hostels, but in the intervening years hundreds more people moved onto the land, resulting in about 1 000 current residents, most living without water or sanitation. The area became known as the Compound. As it is private land, City authorities were unable to intervene or provide services.
Neighbouring communities of Protea Village in Brackenfell and Northpine in Kraaifontein also complained about an increase in crime in their areas.
There have been numerous discussions over the last few years about how to address the issue, and an agreement between the City and Group Five has resulted in a development framework plan, which will see Group Five providing professional support and the City running the public consultation process.
The announcement of the proposed redevelopment, which was made at a Bergdal sub-council meeting recently, has received widespread support from interested parties.
The area will be transformed, allowing better services and social integration, and also helping to alleviate Cape Town’s critical housing shortage.
The former Everite factory workers still living in the hostels will be the first to benefit from the development. The rest of the housing opportunities created by the project will be subject to the normal qualifying criteria to ensure that the most needy recipients receive housing first.
Three types of housing will form part of the project: double/triple storey apartments; semi-detached houses; and courtyard dwellings.
The public participation process will commence towards the end of March, and will be advertised.
At an address to the International Housing Solutions Conference at the end of February, Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, said partnerships were important to eradicating the housing backlog.
While there are limited resources and capacity at local government level to provide basic housing, there is also a massive need for Gap Housing, which fits between free basic housing and those who can afford their own homes, she said. There has been an increased shift to focus on this, but government cannot tackle this on its own.
“What we have increasingly realised is the principle of partnership which informs the Gap Housing approach, as practised by the City of Cape Town. In the City, we focus on building inclusive communities for people where there is a definite realisation of opportunity.”