DA­NEEL KNOETZE

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

Closer to clin­ics, trans­port, shops, schools.”

In re­sponse, the city gen­er­ally brushed th­ese com­ments aside: “This is an emer­gency hous­ing pro­gramme, not poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.”

Dur­ing the prepa­ra­tion phases for build­ing Wol­w­eriv­ier the is­sue came up again. in 2011 con­cern about cre­at­ing an iso­lated com­mu­nity in a ru­ral area with­out work op­por­tu­ni­ties was raised by the au­thors of En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment for the de­vel­op­ment. The En­vi­ron­men­tal Au­tho­ri­sa­tion, which gave the city the go-ahead the fol­low­ing year, echoed this sen­ti­ment. Last year and this, min­utes of meet­ings be­tween city of­fi­cials and the Skan­daalkamp lead­ers show th­ese con­cerns com­ing from the com­mu­nity it­self. By then, the con­struc­tion had be­gun and the plan was all but a done deal.

Re­lo­ca­tion, iso­la­tion and lost liveli­hoods are themes that played out through the apartheid era in South Africa. Even by those stan­dards, the early starts and long com­mutes of Miket and his team are “ex­treme”. That was the word used in a 1985 Sur­plus Peo­ple Project re­port to de­scribe the re­sponse of a ru­ral black com­mu­nity af­ter a forcible re­lo­ca­tion from Riebeeck East to Alicedale be­tween 1981 and 1982.

Alicedale, now in the East­ern Cape, was iso­lated with no work op­por­tu­ni­ties, but some men man­aged to get work at the rail­way goods yard in Port El­iz­a­beth about 100km away. Their daily rou­tines were not dis­sim­i­lar from those of many Wol­w­eriv­ier res­i­dents to­day. They too would wake at 2am, get to the city by foot and train to be in time for a 7am start. At 4pm they would re­turn the same way, ar­riv­ing home at 9pm.

Na­tion­ally, Wol­w­eriv­ier’s com­ple­tion and the Skan­daalkamp re­lo­ca­tions co­in­cided with a re­newed de­bate be­tween plan­ners and the gov­ern­ment over the iso­la­tion of the poor, and what post-

DIF­FI­CUL­TIES: John Miket was moved from Skan­daalkamp, at Vis­ser­shok dump site, to Wol­w­eriv­ier in July. Los­ing ac­cess to scrap and other eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties at the dump has forced him to walk long dis­tances to re­cy­cle rub­bish in neigh­bour­hoods such as Park­lands.

BLEAK: Nom­ahule Platyi had lived in Skan­daalkamp since 1996. She is un­cer­tain about her fu­ture at Wol­w­eriv­ier, be­cause she has not been given ti­tle deeds to the home in which she now lives.

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