Integrated residential developments bring the poor nearer to work
A massive housing development in the heart of Marabastad near the Pretoria CBD will in future make it possible for the poorest residents of Tshwane to live closer to economic opportunities, their workplaces and public transport networks.
The Townlands Village development is one of several major housing projects to be built in Gauteng as part of partnerships between national, provincial and local governments.
Gauteng premier David Makhura said in his state of the province address (SOPA) last year that such projects were among the key elements of radical economic and spatial transformation that would help the province to cope with the legacy of apartheid in terms of town planning and, in the process, integrate economic opportunities, transport corridors and residential areas.
Tshwane executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa launched the Townlands Village development in Marabastad last Tuesday.
This is the first large-scale social housing development project in Tshwane and will consist of 900 low- and medium-cost housing units of various sizes.
The development will cover several thousand hectares and cost about R405 million to build.
Pretoria residents who earn between R2 500 and R7 500 per month will qualify to rent the units.
Ramokgopa said at the launch that the development was a major milestone in the city council’s objectives.
“The painful truth is that poor people spend 70% of their income just on transport. Efficient spatial reconfiguration will ensure that we break this trend. Tenants of Townlands will be brought closer to economic opportunities, their workplaces, public transport networks, shopping centres and several other amenities. This will enable them to spend their hardearned cash better.”
According to Ramokgopa, the project will also serve as a catalyst for the renewal of the Marabastad environment and be part of the big picture to restore the area to its former glory.
Makhura said in his SOPA last year that, in its quest for radical economic transformation, his administration would carry out three macro-interventions, namely spatial reconfiguration, the revitalisation of township economies and massive infrastructure projects.
These would be done in cooperation with municipalities and the private sector to change the residential areas and structure of the economy of Gauteng and to address, inter alia, unemployment, poverty and inequality.
According to Makhura, it was especially important that residential areas be transformed and reconfigured because apartheid’s urban geography and spatial inequality was still contributing to the increased living costs of those on the edges of cities.
Makhura then promised that the infrastructure development and investment programmes would be coordinated by the Gauteng Infrastructure Coordination Commission, of which he is chairman.
It will consist of all the mayors of the province to ensure speedy decision making to support the new spatial-development perspective of all five development corridors in the province.