Cape Airport plans ambitious property development
A plan to build 2 400 houses and develop a commercial hub that could alleviate high levels of unemployment at informal settlements surrounding Cape Town International Airport is being considered.
The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and the city have been in talks with since 2009 about a partnership to develop about 80 hectares of land that could accommodate residents in Malawi camp (Elsies River and Freedom Farm in Belhar and Blikkiesdorp).
The idea is to use the land between the airport boundary, Symphony Way and Stellenbosch Arterial, and which is owned by Acsa, the city and province, for housing and commercial development.
Acsa plans to realign the existing runway at Cape Town International Airport to accommodate flight volumes more efficiently.
The city said this presented an opportunity to build about 2 400 homes for residents of the Malawi camp, Freedom Farm and Blikkiesdorp who qualify as beneficiaries.
If the council approves a request from the city's human settlements directorate this week, Acsa and the city will sign a memorandum of understanding to explore plans for the development.
Acsa spokeswoman Deidre Davids said: "The realignment of the runway will provide added capacity for aircraft movement and will help facilitate future demand. We are at the early stages of the project and plan to commence with an environmental impact assessment. However, this is quite a lengthy process and will involve a number of stakeholders as well as an extensive public participation process."
For Acsa to expand the runway, residents from the informal settlements would need to be relocated as they are affected by flight paths.
Acsa general manager, Deon Cloete said there was a need to find a full solution for people living in informal settlements in the area.
In June, residents from Malawi camp and Freedom Farm protested about housing and sanitation, burning tyres and damaging traffic lights in Modderdam Road.
Cloete said: "It is critical that we play our role in cooperating with the city as they work towards finding a full and final solution for the informal settlements, which comprise formal, quality and sustainable housing solutions. Commercial developments are also an imperative to help drive the creation of muchneeded job opportunities."
If the memorandum of understanding is signed between Acsa and the city, Acsa will expand the runway and develop land for commercial use.
The city will develop the portion of the land it owns for housing and public facilities.
Mayoral committee member for human settlements, Ernest Sonnenberg, said the city's intention was to provide as many housing opportunities as possible.
The number of homes could increase or decrease depending on the planning process and housing typologies. The housing costs would be funded by the city, and the planning process was set to start early next year.