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The City of Cape Town’s Manenberg infill housing project, at a cost of approximately R123 million, is set to start during May 2016. For years, an all-female project steering committee has been playing an intricate role behind the scenes to ensure that this project, in one of the most volatile areas in the metro, can become a reality.

Construction of the 587 subsidised units is expected to commence soon and it is foreseen to take approximately three years to completion.The progress of the project will, however, depend strongly on the support from the community and the innovative and determined approaches deployed in seeing the project through.

‘This area is incredibly volatile, largely as a result of the high levels of gangsterism and drug-related crime. It is therefore not just a simple task of building subsidised units. We are fully aware that we will face some hardships and uphill battles along the way because of the volatility of this area but we will not be deterred.

‘Additional measures will be put in place, including the employment of a local neighbourhood watch. Provision has also been made for the erection of perimeter fencing in an effort to secure the site and the continuity of the project. In addition, we are engaging with local leaders in the area in an attempt to mobilise the community behind the project. Success will only be achieved it we work together.

‘One of our greatest advantages going forward will also be the strong leadership of our all-female project steering committee and we thank them for the role that they have played already,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen.

Another unique feature of this project and one which aims to drive community ownership and to mobilise the community behind this project is the mural initiative. Unemployed youths are participating in a mosaic art training project which is currently under way. This four-month training project aims to provide unemployed youth with an opportunity to learn a skill that they can use to create opportunities for themselves.

The large-scale murals will eventually be applied to the housing units that face onto Govan Mbeki Drive. The murals celebrate the heritage of Manenberg.

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