Manenberg upgrade planned

Helen Zille.

If all goes according to plan, there are going to be some major upgrades in Manenberg, including the construction of a new regional hospital, a new primary school, and a lifestyle centre, which is being planned in the hope that it will steer youth away from joining gangs.

The upgrade forms part of the Manenberg community action plan which was signed by Western Cape premier Helen Zille, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, and the Manenberg steering community’s chairperson, Jonathan Jansen at the mayor’s office on Tuesday November 27.

The upgrade includes the building of the Klipfontein Regional Hospital, which will accommodate 594 beds, 226 of which will be delivered during the first phase, and later an additional 418 beds; and specialised services such as paediatrics and obstetrics. The regional hospital will be built on the current premises of Silverstream High School and Sonderend Primary School.

Ms Zille said the new hospital would serve as a referral hospital for surrounding communities and would relieve pressure on other state hospitals such as Groote Schuur, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Tygerberg, Mowbray, and New Somerset hospital facilities, where patients are currently referred to for specialist services.

“The facility will also relieve pressure from the Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain district facilities, which are experiencing high demand for beds. We don’t have inflated expectations or expect things to change overnight but if we can continue this collaborative work to the final completion it will be a huge opportunity to change Manenberg permanently and have it remembered for the community that it inspired rather than for the violence that is perpetrated there,” she said.

Silverstream High School will be retained as a School of Skills and established on the site of the former GF Jooste Hospital on Duinefontein Road while a new primary school will be constructed on the current Edendale Primary School site and will accommodate pupils from both Edendale and Sonderend primary schools.

The construction of the School of Skills is due to be completed by the end of 2021.

Silverstream High School school governing body chairperson, Sareed Jansen, said the new school would be a three-tier school which would offer academic learning; technical occupational training such as hairdressing, beauty care, tourism, computer application technology, welding, mechanical, upholstery, and bricklaying; and boiler-making, and fitting and turning which will enable pupils to get into a higher learning institution and a better chance of being employed.

“At first parents were disappointed when they said that they were going to close the school but we explained that we need a school of skills here so now they are very excited and over 80 children have already applied to attend the school,” he said.

Ms Zille added that in the interim, the Western Cape Education Department was considering phasing in the school of skills curriculum at Silverstream High from the beginning of 2019, so that it runs parallel to the regular curriculum during this transition period.

She, however, said the finalisation of the proposal was subject to approval from the relevant education authorities under the South African Schools Act, including the necessary consultation processes with these school communities, teachers, school governing bodies, and parents.

Pupils of Rio Grande and Manenberg primary schools will have their schools rebuilt on the properties those schools currently occupy, as was the case at Red River and Silverstream primary schools.

Chairperson of the Manenberg community steering committee, Jonathan Jansen, said he was happy that the project was finally getting under way. “The Manenberg community sees this as an historic event, as it is a plan cultivated by the community and accepted by the City and the Province. We co-designed this according to what the community needed.

“The Manenberg Community Steercom, broader community structures and organisations were invited to be part of the planning and re-imagining of Manenberg. People that were already involved with the development of the community were included,” he said.

“This has been facilitated through roadshows and numerous public meetings and the community were given ample opportunity to provide input on the future urban upgrade of Manenberg, supported and assisted by MURP.

“The success of this plan will only be seen if the community are active participants and co-drivers of the implementation going forward. It took us a frustrating three years but we are at an agreement of moving forward. The process of engagement with the community will continue as this transformative upgrade steadily becomes a reality. We will hold the city and community accountable for what has been said.”