Public controversy is raging in Cape Town, South Africa, over a large redevelopment project near the city's centre.
Public controversy is raging in Cape Town, South Africa, over a large redevelopment project near the city's centre. The district affected, know as District Six, used to be the home of thousands of people of many races, mostly coloured. Now most of them have been rehoused many miles (kilometres) away, following a proclamation making the district a white area.
SYNOPSIS: District Six is close to the city centre, which meant that many of the former residents could find work only a few minutes' walk from their homes. But thirteen years ago, the district was proclaimed a white area under the Group Areas Act.
Now, Most of the 50,000 former residents have been rehoused in the distant Cape Flats townships many miles (kilometres) from their jobs. Most of those arguing about the wisdom of the project agree that District Six needed improving. There were slums, with run-down houses and squalor. There was gang violence. The solution being pursued by the Department of Community Development is to rebuild the district from the ground up, for white commercial and residential use.
After thirteen years, demolition is still not complete. But the delay over the work and the consequent loss of City Council rates income is just one of the grounds on which the project is opposed. The Council wants the district used for residential purposes and open to all races. The latest argument is over the siting of an educational institute, where now live most of the last 10,000 traditional residents of the district who are still in their home. Ministers of religion in the district through their spokesman the Rev. John Paulse are among those who oppose the decision.