03 December 2019

Following housing protests in the area, Western Cape Human Settlements
MEC Tertius Simmers has announced a R1.5 billion, 5,000-home project in the
Greater Retreat area. But Parkwood residents are sceptical.

Last year hundreds of Parkwood backyarders occupied vacant land off
Prince George Drive. Protests continued this year with protesters complaining
that the whole area was overcrowded and no new houses had been built for many

Greater Retreat area consists of ward 62 (Plumstead), ward 63 (Ottery
and Ferness), ward 65 (Lotus River), ward 66 (Parkwood and Ottery East), ward
67 (Vrygrond, Seawinds, Grassy Park), ward 68 (Lavender Hill, Steenberg), ward
72 (Retreat, Southfield) and ward 110 (Cafda).

In a statement on 25 November Simmers said that the project would
include Breaking New Ground (BNG) or free houses, Community Residential Units
(CRU), rental and social housing, open market and units built for the Finance
Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP).

He said the project would start in mid 2021 and “the last key”
would be handed over in 2024. “Various amenities such as schools and
recreational facilities will also form part of this development.”

In an email to GroundUp, Simmers’ spokesperson Marcellino Martin
provided details. He said the project would include 1,350 Breaking New Ground
units in four-storey buildings, 750 units in four-storey CRU walk-ups, 350
units in three-storey Breaking New Ground housing, 300 units in double-storey
Breaking New Ground housing, 250 units for mixed use, incorporating
residential, light industrial, small business and offices, 1,250 FLISP housing
units with retail/restaurants on ground storey, 250 units in double storey
buildings on the open market and 500 units open market above the FLISP housing.
(For an explanation of these different types of housing, see our guide.)

The department would also construct 12 two-storey apartments and 75
single dwellings in ward 63 (Ottery/Ferness).

Dominique Booysen, chairperson of the Parkwood backyarders’ association
and member of the Greater Retreat Steering Committee, said: “They do not
believe in them anymore because of the previous broken promises. When I try to
convince them that this time it is for real, they say the government is using you.
I can’t blame them.”

Only six Parkwood residents attended the meeting Simmers held on 12
November in Ottery Civic Centre. “It was short notice. They wanted the
meeting to happen in Parkwood for a change but there is no venue. The residents
were proposing that the committee seek a venue in a school.”

However, according to Councillor William Akim of ward 66, more than 120
people from Grassy Park and Ottery attended the meeting. “They were very
happy, especially that they were given an opportunity to raise their concerns
with the minister. The community told the minister to be fair when allocating
houses and ensure the right people on the list are given houses.”

Responding to the complaints about the meeting not taking place in
Parkwood, Akim said, “We don’t have a City facility any more in Parkwood.
It was vandalised during the protest and was later demolished. The City is now
in the process of rebuilding the facility that was destroyed. The City will
start consultation and public hearings about the new facility in two

“We sought a venue at the schools but they were using their halls for matric examinations.”

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