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Manenberg urban upgrading in full swing

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The City of Cape Town and Manenberg community members are engaging in pre-consultations meetings on the Manenberg upgrade project. The progress plan is based on the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading methodology, with intent to enhance the overall safety in the suburb, which has been deeply impacted by gang violence. Following the annual Community Action Plan (CAP) review earlier this year, the City and community partners agreed on the following priorities: the School Upgrade Programme, which includes three new primary schools; a School of Skills that will provide with alternative pathway into apprenticeships and jobs, Skills and Community development, and the 550 bed Klipfontein Regional Hospital.

Western Cape government spokesperson Michael Mpofu explained that two years ago Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Patricia de Lille announced plans to upgrade Manenberg, which would essentially alter certain parts of the area. This process, he said, has to include the community of Manenberg and the principals of the schools in the area in the process.

“We have been speaking to some of the community representatives through a steering community to ensure that the community interests are represented.”

While the plans continue to be discussed between the government and the community, authorities have begun the upgrading process, including the upgrading of roads, lights and play parks.

“The city started the initial role out, but in terms of the greater infrastructure, it would need to be determined by two factors; how quick we can get the community to agree to the plan and how soon we can unlock some of that money from the budget,” Mpofu stated.

Commenting on the overall development of community members, he says that while the City brings in experts in the development phase, it “always involves the community in some way or another.”
Mpofu further notes that the project could not be possible without the assistance of the steering committee and the school principals.

Meanwhile, secretary of the Manenberg Steering Committee and the chairperson of Silverstream School High Governing Body, Fareed Jansen described the meeting with the Mayor on Wednesday as constructive, where the issues relating to the progress plans and the budget was discussed. He said a short, medium, and long term timeline was set by those present.

“It’s a long term process, but what we specifically focussed on is how we are going to be doing this.”

While the meeting did not focus on the contentious issue regarding the closure and merging of schools in Manenberg, Jansen said the issue was clarified in the previous meeting with the principal’s forum, but that the message was not imparted accordingly outside of the meeting.

“The only protection we have is the South African Schools Act, and the only one who can close a school is the minister of education – this process has not been touched yet,” he elaborated.

Jansen, therefore, affirms that no schools are set to be closed at least for the next two to three years, since the Department of Health at this stage in the process is not ready to proceed with the building of Jooste.
“We as the steering community are satisfied with the process… [Since] this is a brilliant initiative for Manenberg,” he continued. VOC

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