AEC Note: When the City starts comparing what they build formally to the city’s informal settlements, its obvious that what they are building do not live up to acceptable alternative accomodation. Anyone who goes to Blikkiesdorp will realise that it is a government built slum and that would beg one to as why the government is building slums in the first place?
Blikkiesdorp is city’s safest informal settlement, says council housing boss
May 04, 2009 Edition 1
THE City of Cape Town has come out in defence of its controversial Blikkiesdorp temporary relocation area in Delft, which it says is one of the safest of all the 222 informal settlements in Cape Town when it comes to floods and fires. But the Anti-Eviction Campaign is having none of it.
While residents say they fear the approaching rainy season, the city’s mayco member for housing, Shehaam Sims, said there were clear access routes for emergency vehicles “and the structures are laid out in a way that hinders the spread of fires”.
“There have already been two shack fires (there), which have been extinguished before spreading because of the layout,” she said.
In addition, the entire site had been earthworked and hardened to greatly reduce the risk of flooding.
“During the 2008 winter, we did not receive any reports of flooding,” said Sims.
But Anti-Eviction Campaign secretary Kareemah Linneveldt, who lives on nearby Symphony Way, said structures at Blikkiesdorp leaked severely last winter.
“In Blikkiesdorp, it leaks and it gets ice-cold. The people are crying to get out of there,” she said.
Sims said the structures were a temporary, emergency arrangement, created to accommodate people who invaded and were then evicted from houses in the state-owned N2 Gateway project in Delft last year.
The city built Blikkiesdorp to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Since then, a number of other people with no accommodation had been given shelter there.
“The (area) has the same or even better services than most existing informal settlements in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa,” said Sims.
The structures were constructed of wooden poles, beams and corrugated iron sheets. Each had a lockable door and at least one window. All of these materials were provided free by the city.
A total of 420 full-flush toilets had been installed, amounting to one toilet for every four homes.
The city’s electricity department was in the process of installing electricity and an electricity board in every structure.
“The city has also kept a law enforcement presence in the area, although, as in any part of the city, crime remains a challenge,” said Sims.
Linneveldt countered that crime was spiralling out of control in Blikkiesdorp. “There are so many bad things happening there. Women and children are getting raped, many of the stories no one knows about. There are drug houses there. What is law enforcement doing about that?”
Sims said authorities were taking all measures possible.