Friday, 29 April 2022 09:50

Cape Town plans major redevelopment - including affordable houses.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Cape Town has announced significant development plans for its Belville precinct – including affordable houses, new broadband infrastructure and non-motorised streets.

The proposals are included in the local spatial development framework (LSDF) for the Bellville central business district, available for public comment from 3 May 2022.

"The draft LSDF proposes significant investment from both the public and private sector in roads, utilities, affordable housing and innovation to support urban renewal in the longer term," said the city's deputy mayor Eddie Andrews.

"The city's catalytic land development programme focuses on Bellville’s urban core as a catalytic precinct to promote inclusive growth and development through the digital economy, knowledge-based businesses, etc. However, the immediate focus is on interventions to stabilise the area in terms of crime and grime and deprivation."

The key proposals for the development include:

  • Place economic growth at the heart of Bellville – it must be an attractive location for international, national and local investors;
  • Restore the urban core as a prime business, innovation and visitor destination with the potential to become the Government Precinct for professional, financial and business services;
  • Create an environment that allows businesses to flourish and create jobs;
  • Stimulate development through investment in sustainable and green next-generation infrastructure; the expansion of fast broadband and digital infrastructure is critical as a basis for promoting an innovation district among the cluster of higher education institutions in the area;
  • Maximise delivery of affordable housing in support of economic growth by encouraging more economically active households to live and work in Bellville;
  • Drive economic growth by promoting a diverse business base and redressing imbalances in the labour market as a flexible and highly skilled workforce attracts and retains businesses.

"The broader road network needs investment to promote efficient movement, non-motorised transport expanded for easy access to a walkable precinct, and the Elsieskraal River Corridor enhanced as the green lung for Bellville with recreational facilities and active green spaces," the city said.

Meanwhile Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced that the City of Cape Town's Urban Mobility Directorate has received the go-ahead to conduct a detailed feasibility study on the metropolitan rail function.

Speaking during a council meeting held on Thursday, Hill-Lewis disclosed that the national government, through Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, had shown support for the devolution of the metropolitan rail function to the City.

"I think every councillor here, and every resident of the city, shares my frustration with the national government-controlled passenger rail service, run by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)," Hill-Lewis said.

"The national government’s rail service has reached a crisis point in Cape Town, with just 33 operational train sets in 2020 compared to 95 train sets in 1995.

"If a local or regional government can carry out functions that the national government is failing to fulfil, then those functions should be devolved to that local or regional authority. This is what I call 'functional federalism'. Thankfully, the Constitution backs me up on this point.

"I am very pleased to announce here today that the City of Cape Town is now ready to proceed with a detailed feasibility study for the devolution of the metropolitan rail function to this metro, "Hill-Lewis said.

The City has already issued a tender for the study, and work is expected to begin as soon as the new financial year starts in July this year, according to Hill-Lewis.