Ratepayers question housing project process

The Bonteheuwel Ratepayer’s and Tenants’ Association (BRATA) claims Ward 50 councillor, Angus Mckenzie is going ahead with an infill housing project in the area, without proper public participation.

The housing project will see 400 houses being built.

Mr Mckenzie posted a City of Cape Town letter on social media, which acknowledges the application to have a public open space rezoned and subdivided in Bramble Way, to make way for 142 houses.

The application also proposes street names.

The Bramble Way site is one of the three sites identified in Bonteheuwel for the housing project.

A media release of Brata said they find it unusual that there are street name nominations when “the community is yet to be consulted” about the project.

In July last year, a public meeting to elect a steering committee for this project, could not be concluded, as chaos erupted and Mr Mckenzie had to be escorted by law enforcement officers out of the venue. (“Housing meeting turns into chaos”, Athlone News, August 1 2018).

A project steering committee has since been established.

Brata, however, accuse Mr Mckenzie of sidelining and excluding them from meetings.

“We demand that the project be ceased with immediate effect, as it perpetuates apartheid spatial planning. The area will be more dense and overcrowded, which will result in more crime and social ills. The health facility is already inadequate and schools are overcrowded,” part of Brata’s media statement reads.

They have also threatened to seek alternatives, like stopping the contractors from doing their work, should the City decide to not halt the project.

Some residents have also objected to another site, Camelia Park, being developed for housing, as it is currently being used as a recreational facility for sport.

Building houses on the Ivory Street site, currently zoned as a commercial site, is also a concern for some residents, as the complex there houses a madrassa.

Mr Mckenzie said recreational space will not be threatened by this project.

“Each of the three sites are going to have recreational space, which will be upgraded. It is designed in such a way that there will be five-a-side soccer pitch.”

He also pointed out that because this is an infill housing project, it will be exclusive for Bonteheuwel residents who are on the City’s housing waiting list, as Brata’s concern is that there is no Bonteheuwel housing waiting list.

“Ninety percent of the residents who do not have homes, are backyarders anyway,” Mr Mckenzie added.

He denied that Brata was being sidelined, saying that communication is transparent, and that Brata is on a database when community organisations are being emailed to invite them to meetings.

Mr Mckenzie also denied that the schools were overcrowded.

“Schools in the area are running empty, and we must not use that as an excuse. The majority of the people want to live in Bonteheuwel, and not another area, and hence the housing project will continue.

“This is a low-cost housing project, aimed at people who are in desperate need of a home,” Mr Mckenzie said.