Residents welcome development plans

TASNEEM HASSAN

Monte Vista residents have welcomed plans for the development of the land next to Goodwood Prison which is part of a land claims settlement.

The 30 hectares of land were given to a group of 120 families in terms of a settlement with the Land Claims Commission in 2007 for land their families lost in Parow, Goodwood Acres and farmland close to Cape Town International Airport in the 1960s under apartheid’s Group Areas Act (“Claimants’ long wait for land,” Northern News, May 18).

Northern News reported that the vacant state-owned land off Drakenstein Road, had become a headache for Monte Vista residents since homeless people set up camp there (“Prison camp a no-no,” Northern News, April 20).

The land claimants hope to develop the land once they receive the title deed. The plan could involve housing.

Nearby resident Helena Kieser welcomes the idea as she would prefer seeing a development there, rather than a vacant piece of land where people are squatting.

However, she added that once plans do fall in place, she would like the families who are currently living on the field to be placed in alternate venues for shelter.

Ms Kieser added that the development should include affordable entry level homes for young families to rent.

She said the area already has existing infrastructure which could be upgraded to accommodate the new development.

“If this land gets developed, we can start moving forward and adding value to Monte Vista,” said Ms Kieser.

Monte Vista resident, Alex Joseph also supports the idea to develop the land.

“I am all for land development. It will be an asset to the community, because at the moment it is wasted land.

“This is an opportunity for these people to own their own homes,” said Mr Joseph.

Pierre Gouws, chairman of the Monte Vista Ratepayers’ Association, said he has known about the land negotiations for more than seven years and cannot understand why it is taking so long to resolve.

“I think it is unfair that they are taking so long to finalise such valuable land,” said Mr Gouws.

He said the development of the vacant land is a great idea as it would add value to the community.

He said the value of the land would increase just as the prices of other properties in the area have escalated over the years.

Mr Gouws added that more traffic calming measures would need to be put in place, should the land be developed.

He said homeless people have only started settling on the land in the last few months.

“What is very concerning is that each time the ratepayers want to clear the land, it belongs to no one.

“The best thing would be to give the land to who it belongs,” said Mr Gouws.

“Instead of having an eyesore, we can have something pretty and good looking,” he said.

Freddie Cruywagen, the chairman of the Northern Acres Communal Property Association and a claimant for farm land near the airport, said the development of the land would be the best possible solution.

He said it would be in the best interest of the community as well as the claimants.

“Not all of us would live there, but at least our children or grandchildren will benefit,” said Mr Cruywagen.

He said the development will enhance the area, and said that all the claimants have agreed to pursuing the route of developing the land.

Mr Cruywagen added that the association held their annual general meeting on Saturday May 28, where they received feedback from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

The DRDLR said they are yet to appoint a consultant to carry out the environmental impact assessment on the land.

The DRDLR spokesman Vuyani Nkasayi had told Northern News last month that there were plans to develop the land, and the Land Claims Commission was appointing a consultant to conduct specialist studies to lay the groundwork for that.

“The property is still registered under Public Works, as the transfers can only be effected once the above mentioned studies are completed,” Mr Nkasayi told us.