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The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, Alderman Grant Twigg hosted Mr Wolfgang Kubicke, the Vice-President of the German Parliament, in Khayelitsha last week. The City’s partnership with the German government dates back to 2005. The German government targets its funding to previously disadvantaged areas and it encourages a whole of society approach to make a difference in the life of the beneficiary community. Read more below:

The City’s partnership with the German government was made possible through the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) programme that aims to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable residents.

Since the inception of the programme, the City has received a total investment of €15,5 million, or approximately R255,2 million. Additionally, the City has invested R154,2 million in public facilities and infrastructure in the precincts of Harare and Kuyasa as part of the contribution to this partnership.

‘Our visit to Khayelitsha was to see first-hand how these communities have benefited from the investment. It also showed us that the whole of society approach based on the concept of prevention, cohesion, detection and knowledge management does in fact benefit the community, when compared to a piece-meal, fragmented approach to a challenge,’ said Alderman Twigg.The delegation stopped off at Harare Square, where a public square was upgraded with a view to delivering on economic and youth development priorities as requested by the community.

The approach was to cluster public facilities and services around this public square.

‘Over a relatively short space of time, a significant number of public facilities were developed and were in operation. This helped to turn Harare Square into a beacon of hope as a shining example of what can be achieved when facilities and services are clustered together. It provides a quality public space with a range of services that are easily accessible to the community,’ said Alderman Twigg.

The Harare Square development includes the following services/activities:

· A business hub

· A gym with boxing, martial arts and fitness classes

· A house of learning with a community library featuring a study space, internet access, a games room for the youth and an early childhood development hub

· An environmental health centre

· A community hall, including a youth centre

· Live / work units with businesses looking out onto the square and residences above on the upper floor

· The existing small community shopping centre

· The public square which was upgraded

Retail and office space for local businesses and NGOs has also been provided as additional spaces within the public facilities. Currently there are in excess of 50 local business tenants renting space within the Harare neighbourhood.

‘The partnership with the German Development Bank, using the VPUU NPC as an implementing agent, has enabled us to design the buildings and public space with careful attention being paid to urban design and the creation of a safe space for the community. Doing all of this in an inclusive manner has instilled a sense of pride in the community when it comes to maintenance and management of the surroundings.

‘In addition, we have noticed a significant drop in the levels of violence in these neighbourhoods. After a number of years in operation, the precinct remains in a good state of repair with very few incidents of vandalism,’ said Alderman Twigg.

The delegation then proceeded to the Monwabisi Park Informal Settlement Neighbourhood Centre, which has been benefitting from the VPUU Programme supported by the German Development Bank and Comic Relief funding.

Neighbourhood centres have been constructed in Monwabisi Park and Lotus Park informal settlements to provide accessible service centres within the settlement where government and NGOs can provide services directly to the community.

‘The vision is to provide services to the community directly, as soon as possible, whilst the longer-term upgrading of these settlements is being dealt with,’ said Alderman Twigg.

The following services/activities are available in the Monwabisi Park Neighbourhood Centre:

· An early childhood resource centre that accommodates 200 children between the ages of 2 and 6, including a toy library

· Vegetable gardens

· Community meeting rooms

· Study space for learners and students

· Sports facilities including a multi-purpose, hard-surfaced court with flood lighting

· A Community Registration Office that is run by community members, which includes the enumeration of all homes within the settlement. Homes are geo-located onto a database and GIS platform, which is updated on a daily basis

· Each family receives a letter confirming their residential status within the settlement which assists with many day-to-day transactions.

· The community showcased how they monitor and report on service faults for the taps and toilets via a simple cellphone app. Residents populate the app in order to ensure a quick turn-around time for the maintenance of the taps and toilets

‘The development and management model has been implemented and tested for these two Neighbourhood Centres through a partnership with the German Development Bank, Comic Relief and the VPUU NPC, which can now be rolled out to other informal settlements within the City in order to bring services closer to the community. The associated public space upgrades have been successfully implemented with the assistance of small community-based construction teams,’ added Alderman Twigg.

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