A tract of land which has long been known as one of Cape Town’s worst crime spots – where few people dare to tread – has now been transformed into a community space for the residents of Khayelitsha.
Two new community buildings, a park and a sports complex were opened in Harare, Khayelitsha on Saturday 23 May 2009.
Premier of the Province of the Western Cape Helen Zille and other officials joined the crowds of up to 4,000 local residents at the opening celebrations.
The development is the first stage of the City of Cape Town’s Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) programme.
The R120 million five-year programme is funded by the City, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Co-operation and Development, and the German Development Bank (KfW).
The goals of the programme are to increase the safety of residents; strengthen measures to reduce crime and violence; upgrade low-income neighbourhoods; provide social and commercial services; strengthen community structures; introduce a model of sustainable community-based management of local service nodes and empower the beneficiary population.
It aims to create four “safe node areas” in Harare, Kuyasa, Site C/TR section and Site B in Khayelitsha. Each of these safe node areas will cater for about 50 000 people.
Within the programme there is a Social Development Fund which gives Khayelitsha residents the opportunity to apply for funds; supporting measures such as programmes to improve safety, care for victims and meet the needs of vulnerable and offender groups; and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of these components.
The VPUU programme will also create public facilities such as a library and youth centre, sports facilities, toilets and other infrastructure, spaces for informal traders and other retailers, and pedestrian walkways. It will also ensure safety by providing safe, well-lit walk-ways and street lighting.
The new facilities opened on Saturday are the Peace Park Community building; Ncomu Road Community building; Ncomu Road Urban Park and Kwamfundo School Sports Complex.
“It was a very well attended, there were at least 3 000 to 4 000 people there, mostly local residents,” said Alastair Graham, Manager: Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading.
“Oxes and sheep had been slaughtered the day before to cleanse the site, which was one of the worst crime hotspots in Khayelitsha. It has now been transformed into something that the community is now in control of.”
“This wonderful achievement is part of the VPUU programme – an initiative that helps the people of Khayelitsha to take control of their environment and to live free and dignified lives,” says Executive Mayor Dan Plato.
“This initiative proves that you the community have the power to take charge of your lives and to create a safer and better living environment for all the residents of South Africa’s third largest township.”
Isabel Huber, Senior Project Manager, KfW-Frankfurt (German Development Bank), said: “Compared to the many projects that I have observed elsewhere in Africa and the world, VPUU is an outstanding and unique example of successful collaboration between a local government and the residents of an area – such as Khayelitsha.”
The VPUU programme has also provided assistance to FIFA’s Football for Hope programme, which aims to address social challenges in disadvantaged areas. The programme has included the planned Football for Hope facility in its package of facilities, and has facilitated the rollout of the programme from its inception, said Graham.