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The N2 Gateway project is a joint venture between the national government, the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and the HDA. The project aims to deliver 13 477 housing units and includes different housing types – rental, bonded, peoples housing process, building new ground and temporary relocation areas– in defined areas close to the N2 freeway in Cape Town.

Read on for a full update of all N2 Gateway projects.

Delft 7-9/Delft 601

Construction at Delft 7-9, a now-thriving community of more than 3 900 families, is complete. All services, including refuse removal, are fully operational and the HDA has handed over responsibility for service provision to the City of Cape Town.

An important final achievement of the development process has been the issuing of title deeds to all residents (home owners). Having a title deed will help ensure that Delft 7-9 gradually moves into the property market and facilitates people using their homes as assets, although they will have to wait for eight years before they can sell their houses.

A primary school and a high school in Delft 7-9 have been completed and were functioning just in time for the new school year. A range of commercial and retail services have also begun operating. Some residents have already made improvements to their homes (having submitted plans to the City of Cape Town, which were approved), while others have put down paving or created gardens.

A leading objective now that construction is almost complete is the greening of Delft 7-9. The national Department of Environmental Affairs has made funds available for this purpose, and has created several employment opportunities for Delft 7-9 residents in the process. Work on this has started and an improvement to the area is already visible. The City of Cape Town will maintain the trees with the assistance of the community through a partnership agreement.

The last 38 units are now being completed and will be handed over to approved beneficiaries by the end of March 2012. These are infill units constructed within the Delft 7-9 project, which, together with the main project, will provide 4 512 housing opportunities.

Delft Symphony

Great progress has been made in the development of Delft Symphony, with a total of 974 houses completed out of the 1 849 planned. The construction of a wall along the arterial road bordering the site has been approved, which will improve safety and reduce noise, in addition to preventing sand from drifting into the area. A local biodiversity site managed by the City of Cape Town will also be fenced to ensure the protection of the fauna and flora.

The resident’s project steering committee has been very active and meets on a regular basis. Concerns about the need to improve waste management have been raised in this forum and are consequently being addressed by the City of Cape Town.

An exciting community development initiative under way in this area is the Leiden Community Youth. This organisation has completed a business plan for local young people to receive training in many aspects of construction as the Delft Symphony project is further developed. Leiden is currently negotiating with the developer to provide on-site training in various building trades.

The HDA has begun to relocate backyard dwellers to Delft Symphony to comply with the 70%/30% (informal settlement/backyard) allocation formula. Relocation from the Malawi Camp and Freedom Park settlements has been delayed due to resident protests. The City of Cape Town is addressing these concerns through a consultative process.

The biggest single challenge facing this project has been the timely connection of electrical supply. Eskom has been highly responsive to requests from the HDA that electrification of Delft Symphony be made a top priority, and has worked solidly throughout the 2011/12 festive season to ensure that all units scheduled for electrification were connected.

Boystown

Resolving difficulties and reviving the building process at Boystown, a project that has been subject to disagreements between the community and the contractor, has been a top priority for the HDA in recent months. Many of the challenges have been resolved and the appointment of a new community liaison officer is helping to facilitate better working relationships.

Community leaders are being included in an ongoing consultation process and this has helped created a sense of buy-in. Among other issues, the parties have agreed that each unit will be 40 square metres in size. The community leaders have also agreed not to interfere with the contractor’s efforts and to adhere to the agreed-upon development prescripts.

The contractor has started to employ labour from the various source areas for the building phase, and this is providing much-needed work opportunities. Only approved Boystown beneficiaries have been allowed to apply, and the contractor has extended the labour registration process to ensure that beneficiaries from all the source areas have an opportunity to participate. The new community liaison officer is helping facilitate this process.

In terms of the servicing of the site (installation of water, electricity and sewer infrastructure), phase 1 of Boystown was close to 70% completed as of late January, and the contractor has commenced construction of the top structures (houses). As part of phase 1, the removal of waste material or rubble is almost complete and the installation of bulk infrastructure is progressing well.

A survey to determine exactly who is residing on the site and whether or not they qualify as beneficiaries has been restarted for phases 2 and 3. Those who qualify will be eligible for housing, while the HDA will engage with those who do not qualify to discuss their housing options. Non-qualifiers in the current phase are being offered temporary accommodation in the Delft TRA 5 project.

Joe Slovo 3

The development of Joe Slovo 3 is divided into three phases and will ultimately deliver 2 615 houses. Construction of 447 units (part of phase 3A) began last August, and the first handovers to beneficiaries are scheduled for April 2012. Phase 3A will produce 588 houses in total. Building progress was delayed for three weeks due to a labour dispute concerning pay rates on top-structure construction, but this has been resolved.

Bulk infrastructure and service development is progressing well. In terms of road construction, the Winnie Mandela Drive and Blue Gum extensions are now well under way. Some 207 people were relocated to the Delft TRA 5 to make way for the extensions.

This community’s built environment will be of a higher density than most BNG projects. Most houses will be two-storey and developed in blocks of 12 to 15 units. However, 24 units will be built as single-storeys to cater for disabled and elderly beneficiaries unable to negotiate stairs.

The development of electrical infrastructure is also well under way. Meaningful community engagement is guiding infrastructure and service development and a community liaison officer has been appointed for this purpose. Effective community engagement has been an important feature at Joe Slovo 3. Resident input has been facilitated and people are given the necessary information on their housing options to make informed choices.

An alternative energy initiative funded by the Dutch government will be implemented in Joe Slovo 3 in 2012. A new school is under also construction in the immediate vicinity.

Joe Slovo Park

The only rental development in the N2 Gateway project, Joe Slovo Park has had a complex and troubled history spanning several years. Issues concerning communication, conditions, rent payments and day-to-day management have characterised the development, almost since its inception. It is therefore heartening to note, due to the efforts of both management and tenants, that many of the difficulties are finally being addressed.

Joe Slovo Park is a 705-unit, 37-block rental complex situated near Langa right on the N2. The HDA has a mandate to normalise the project, and part of this will include formalising all tenancies through the signing of lease agreements. A central intervention in the normalisation process has been a comprehensive assessment of all structural and service deficiencies. Two major tenders will be awarded shortly, one for electrical installations and one for building/structural rectification.

A major concern raised by the resident’s committee is the need to ensure that building rectification is undertaken to proper standards. A clause to guarantee repair of latent defects is included in the contract. It is standard for such a guarantee to last five years; however, in the case of the Joe Slovo Park phase 1 rectifications, this period has been extended to 10 years. In addition, only reputable, professional labour will be used and the attending contractor (a quantity surveyor) will have day-to-day oversight of the rectification process. Residents will have some opportunities for temporary employment throughout the rectification process, which should be completed by the end of 2012.

TRA 5

The basic conditions for subsidised temporary accommodation were laid down by the Constitutional Court, and it is fair to say that TRA 5, located in Delft, is providing a quality standard of housing and amenities for its residents. Security services keep the complex safe, effective maintenance is being provided and waste removal is well managed.

Each individual unit in TRA 5 is serviced with electricity, a new feature in temporary accommodation. A total of 856 units were completed by late January and a further 244 are scheduled for completion by the end of March 2012, making a total of 1 100.

The houses themselves are constructed from a very durable material and are attractively painted. Each unit is easy to set up and dismantle as the house consists of reusable sheets that slot into frames. “Construction” does not, therefore, require highly skilled labour on-site, and residents have been employed at TRA 5 to set up the structures. While the units do not have plumbing, each household has easy access to an ablution block. Every unit has two aluminium windows, and is well ventilated and well insulated.

Although not the formal project manager, the HDA is also involved in the TRAs (temporary relocation areas) located in Philippi. Plans are under way to improve security, build fencing, improve roads and install new ablution facilities.