South Africa


District Six Phase 4 redevelopment planning to build Hanover Street housing units under way

District Six Phase 4 redevelopment planning to build Hanover Street housing units under way
Trucks and bulldozer in District Six. (Photo: Sune Payne)

Planning for the next phase of the redevelopment of District Six is under way, with preliminary plans showing more than 100 units will be built along Hanover Street.

Documents from architects and archaeologists show that plans are under way for the Phase 4 redevelopment of District Six. This comes after the DA in the Western Cape has been asking questions about the redevelopment for months since a meeting where Deputy President David Mabuza said the development would be completed by 2025. 

In the latest filing to the Land Claims Court, architectural studies show 177 housing units will be built for Phase 4 of the District Six redevelopment. In court filings mandated by the Land Claims Court in 2018, it was shown that the development will take place in what is now Hanover Street in District Six. There are no dates as to when the development will start or when the new units will be completed. 

District Six, located near the Cape Town CBD, was a multiracial and multicultural area before the apartheid regime forced thousands of black people out under the Group Areas Act. Under these laws, about 60,000 people were forced out of District Six and into Cape Town suburbs such as Mitchells Plain, Hanover Park, Langa and Manenberg. For many years, land claimants who lived in the area have fought to come back home to the area from which they were evicted. 

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development was mandated to provide the court filing under a ruling by Judge (now Justice) Jody Kollapen in 2018, which forced the department to provide land claimants with housing in their beloved District Six. The department is mandated to provide the court with an update every three months on the rebuilding process. 

The redevelopment of District Six in Hanover Street on 24 June 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Misha Jordaan)

Housing units along Hanover Street in District Six, Cape Town. (Photo: Suné Payne)

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Information from architects who conducted a heritage assessment shows that in addition to the development of housing, street layouts and blocks, there are considerations for design elements such as a multipurpose “open space” for informal activities, boundary walls that separate the dwellings, soft landscaping, and a retention pond that complies with City of Cape Town stormwater policies. 

Phase 1 of the redevelopment was completed in 2008, with 24 claimants. Phase 2 had 115 claimants and the project was completed in 2013. Phase 3 was completed in June 2021, although several challenges prevented occupations of units. 

In March 2022, during an oversight visit by an interministerial committee chaired by Mabuza, claimants — often elderly people — laid bare their frustrations and heartbreak at the delays suffered in coming home. 

Court papers seen by Daily Maverick in March indicated that the department was busy planning for 49 units to be built in Phase 4, then 173 units in Phase 5, followed by 145 units in Phase 6. Phase 3 claimants, such as Mariam Dirk and Mastoerah Toefy, have moved into their units.  

In addition to the rebuilding, the City of Cape Town has also embarked on a development process for the area. The city’s Local Spatial Development Framework will outline the spatial vision for “the future District Six”. This framework will include policy guidelines, required projects (including water projects) and the spatial restructuring of the area.  

In September 2020, the city and the department announced the renaming of Keizersgracht Street to Hanover Street after one of the iconic streets in the area — although the street only followed the contour after the original street grid was destroyed during the forced removals. 

On Thursday, the DA Western Cape spokesperson for human settlements, Matlhodi Maseko, announced that she would write to Mabuza asking for an update on the redevelopment and measurable targets for the completion of the redevelopment six months after his initial visit. 

“Exactly six months ago today, the deputy president visited the District Six community and promised the completion of the entire project, some 954 units, by 2025. Deputy President Mabuza claimed that his visit was part of ongoing efforts by the national government to restore the community’s human dignity,” said Maseko. 

“However, it has been evident that delivering human dignity, justice, and restitution to the District Six community has been blatantly neglected by the ANC.” DM


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