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Good progress has also been made with the Joe Slovo project at the N2 Gateway, where six families each with elderly members, took possession of their new homes on 16 August.

The handover process, and the general recent success of the project, has a lot to do with the HDA’s commitment to meaningful consultation with residents and a broader commitment among stakeholders to overcome political differences.

In the past, the project was characterised by conflict, legal action, mistrust, factionalism and poor communication. Thanks to the efforts of all stakeholders, that has changed.

While many factors have driven the development of Joe Slovo, the most significant has been the Constitutional Court ruling of April, 2011 which, among other things, obliged government to provide local housing to Joe Slovo residents rather than to relocate them to other areas.

The Constitutional Court ruling stressed the importance of “meaningful engagement between the role-players to ensure that previous mistakes are not repeated“. As a result, a project steering committee was created to ensure broader community support and involvement through the active participation of all stakeholders.

This engagement process led to the signing of the Social Compact Agreement in January 2012. The agreement outlines the basis for the relationship between the affected communities and the government. The social compact provides principles and a framework to govern the relationship between the two groups, and outlines rights and responsibilities of both.

The 16 August handover (which will be the first of many) was conducted by Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale, Western Cape MEC of Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela, and Premier Helen Zille.

The rollout of new housing in Joe Slovo will take place with 20 units in each handover rather than 10, as originally planned. The delivery of higher-density units, rather than single-stand houses, will ensure that as many beneficiaries as possible are housed. This will help to minimise the need for relocation. Local contractors are being used to transport new beneficiaries and their goods to the new units.

While aiming to accommodate as many beneficiaries as possible through higher density at Joe Slovo, it is critical that the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities is suitably addressed. To meet the needs of such beneficiaries, 24 units at ground-floor level with disability access, and special design features within the units, will be constructed in Phase 3 (Zone 32) of the settlement.

We are the implementing agent on the N2 Gateway project on behalf of the province.