[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Residential class apartheid... or not
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue May 15 09:43:41 BST 2007
('Cosmo City' provides the society some more street-naming controversy,
entirely justified: "Crossing into Texas Street, where the bonded homes
were located, one notes that the street names changed from the names of
African states to that of American.")
PRETORIA 13 May 2007 Sapa
MOCK SQUATTER CAMP IN PRETORIA
An informal settlement, a burning tyre and chickens outside a
Pretoria high income residential area would perhaps show government
that low income housing to build in high income residential areas
would not work, Solidarity Youth said on Sunday.
Solidarity Youth Pretoria spokesman Francois Coetzee said that
although Solidarity was not against the building of low cost
housing, it was against the building of low cost housing within
high income residential areas.
"Government wants to force social and economic development. We
are against the enforcement of spatial and economic development.
"We would rather like to see development in underdeveloped
residential areas," he said.
Coetzee was speaking following a Solidarity Youth protest on
Saturday in which a mock informal settlement camp was set up
outside a residential area in Silver Lakes, east of Pretoria.
The "settlement," constructed of corrugated iron, together with
an old maroon coloured couch, was what the 15 protesters used for
shelter and comfort.
Four chickens and a two goats in an enclosing also featured in
the protest that included a burning tyre.
"We did however receive complaints from residents from a
residential area behind the informal settlement but other than that
we did not get into trouble," said Coetzee.
"The reason we did this was because the Tshwane municipality's
plans to erect low cost housing within existing residential areas
in Pretoria," he said.
Coetzee said that if this was to take place it would impact
negatively on the prices of existing houses.
The Gauteng housing department could not be reached for comment.
JOHANNESBURG 14 May 2007 Sapa
RICH, POOR SHARE NEW JHB NEIGHBOURHOOD
Sand and dust swirl in the afternoon air as construction
vehicles grind their way across a sprawling settlement dotted with
unfenced pastel coloured houses.
Walls are being erected, gates fitted, gardens watered. The
stillness of the air belies the activity of turning a house into a
home, a development taking place across the mixed income housing
development, 25km north of Johannesburg's central business
The children of this community roam freely and play together on
narrow, winding roads oblivious to the different economic status of
This somewhat idyllic picture awaits one on entering Cosmo City,
a place of hope for the new working class looking for an affordable
home and a dream come true for people from informal settlements who
now live in more than an enclosure of zinc sheets.
A public-private partnership between the City of Johannesburg,
the Gauteng provincial government and developers Codevco, Cosmo
City is a R3.5 billion multifaceted urban mixed-land-use
It brings together sectors of the country's population who would
never have imagined living side by side.
The first beneficiaries - from an informal settlement - took
occupation of their houses in November 2005.
By December 2006, 2978 houses were occupied, a secondary school
and two primary schools were completed. Other amenities are on the
By the end of this year the aim is to have 6155 houses
completed, a private-public clinic, three more public schools, a
private school, four churches and a bus stop or taxi rank.
Shopping centres, garages and a municipal multipurpose centre
are also set to be built in the 1105-hectare development, scheduled
for completion in September 2009.
A lively, 95-year-old widow, fondly known as "Gogo" by both
developers and residents, was the first person to move into her
Cosmo City home on Swaziland Drive.
"I'm very happy here because I have water and electricity," she
Sitting in the tiny kitchen of the fully subsidised home she now
owns, the former Zevenfontein resident, born in 1912 - the year
the ruling ANC was founded - said: "I couldn't have this when I
was young. I can die here now."
Gogo and other residents without an income living in the 2500
Reconstruction and Development (RDP) houses already built, receive
food parcels from churches in Cosmo City regularly.
Josephine, who lives a few streets away, on Luanda Crescent,
stood outside her home enjoying the mid-afternoon sun with her
three children. She too, had previously lived in a shack in
Zevenfontein and agreed with Gogo, saying her present living
arrangements were far better than what she had.
"It's better than where we used to live. We have a house, water,
electricity and toilets," she said.
Before moving to Cosmo City in October last year, Josephine was
taught how to "live" in a house with a "dustbin, toilet and
"I mean before, we used to just go anywhere."
She did however lament the loss of the business she ran while
living in Zevenfontein: selling fruit and sweets from her shack.
This was prohibited in Cosmo City.
While the roof over her family's heads was a blessing, she now
could not afford to pay her children's school fees without an
Codevco general manager Des Hughes said people were allowed to
trade, but only in designated areas, some of which were still being
"It is illegal for people to trade from their homes, areas are
being built, but it's a process," he said.
People were also being taught to grow and nurture their own
gardens, both for food and aesthetic purposes.
Crossing into Texas Street, where the bonded homes were located,
one notes that the street names changed from the names of African
states to that of American - a point of some controversy, said
It was thought that the African names of the streets lined with
subsidised homes and the American names of the streets where the
bonded or larger homes were found alluded to stereotypical
associations of Africa with underdevelopment and the west with
The houses on Texas, Tennessee, Chicago and Oregon Streets were
fenced in, larger and more pleasing to the eye. Posh vehicles were
parked outside, another indication of wealthier territory.
Residents in these houses did not mind that their neighbours
hailed from informal settlements.
"At first I was worried but so far it's all right," said Justin
Shrinath, a 25-year-old former North Riding resident who now lives
with his wife in a three-bedroom bonded house.
A fashion designer, Portia Mosime, 33, shared her sentiments.
"So far, it has been okay, no issues and no problems. It's
better then Kempton Park," she said.
Mosime moved to Cosmo City last October from the East Rand
suburb and had renovated her home to her own specifications, with a
fully fitted kitchen, a high perimeter wall, a shapely front lawn
and a designer, wooden front door.
Meanwhile, Albert Thomas, a Zambian who bought a home in the new
development said he was happy that he could now bring his wife and
children to South Africa to live with him.
As he worked in a shed welding security gates for a nearby home
in the area, Thomas unwittingly realised one of the main aims of a
mixed development like Cosmo City.
City of Johannesburg spokesman Nthathise Modingoane said
government hoped that mixed developments would promote a reciprocal
relationship between residents: with a nearby labour force,
wealthier residents would provide employment for those needing it.
The housing development allows people of different races and
incomes to live nearby and interact with each other without fear.
While some people complained about burglaries, others said it
was "so far" a safe area. Those who had complained seemed convinced
that the crimes where committed by outsiders and not Cosmo City
The development addressed government's need to provide
accommodations for the informal settlers of Zevenfontein and
Riverbend who had been illegally occupying privately owned land in
the north west of Johannesburg.
In this way it was a departure from the tradition of relocating
poor people to the fringes of South Africa's metropolitan areas,
far removed from job opportunities and other city amenities, said
Project manager Davina Pick said there were also plans to
"eventually" build low-income houses for the people living in the
Itsoseng informal settlement near Cosmo City.
This would happen once Cosmo City was completed.
Modingoane alluded to plans for similar developments in the
south of Johannesburg in the near future.
Housing remained one of the biggest challenges faced by
government, especially in larger, economic centres like Gauteng.
Developments such as Cosmo City address the ever-growing housing
crisis but the thinking behind the development addresses a larger
need in South Africa. The need to unite people of all races,
cultures and incomes. To see them living happily side by side.
Whether this all important goal will be accomplished remains to
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