The City of Cape Town has constructed 14 roads in Imizamo Yethu in the far south. Apart from making it much easier for local residents to reach their destinations, the new roads also serve as important access routes for emergency vehicles so that the police and fire brigade can respond faster in times of crisis.

The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority commenced with the project in June 2016. Approximately R38 million was spent on the realignment and construction of the roads, the installation of stormwater infrastructure, new sidewalks and walkways where the road reserves were wide enough, and street lights.

‘Roads are an essential component of urban living. Roads make it easier and safer for people to move around, be it in vehicles or on foot. Roads also create a sense of place and dignity, meaning it provides structure and something as simple as a street address to those who reside along them.

‘I have always regarded the roads project in Imizamo Yethu as one of the most important on our to-do-list, because now that these roads are finally completed, it will fundamentally change how the residents live and move around in this section of Imizamo Yethu.

‘Where the road reserves were wide enough, we constructed sidewalks for pedestrians. This is no simple matter as children and residents now have a safe space for walking which they need not share with vehicles. We have also installed street lights which will assist residents in feeling safer when they have to walk to their destinations after dark.

‘The importance of stormwater infrastructure is also often overlooked. Without stormwater infrastructure, roads turn into rivers during downpours, homes are flooded, and neighbourhoods are cut off from emergency assistance. Without stormwater infrastructure, roads will eventually fail completely. Thus, I believe the 14 new roads and the other services that form part of this project will go a long way in improving the living conditions of those who reside there,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.

Local residents and sub-contractors also benefitted from this project.

‘To date the contractor has employed 50 local residents from Imizamo Yethu and the value of these temporary employment opportunities is approximately R1,2 million. The contractor also acquired goods and services from local sub-contractors to the value of nearly R600 000,’ said Councillor Herron.

One of the complexities of the project was the realignment of some of the roads and walkways to accommodate informal structures.

‘We had to come up with innovative redesigns to accommodate the informal conditions in Imizamo Yethu, as well as the steep typography of this area. Thanks to all of those involved – from the officials and the local residents, to the local leadership and contractor – we forged a good relationship with the community. On this point, I also want to acknowledge the work and effort by our late colleague Steven Otter in realising this project. He literally knocked on every door to speak and listen to residents in this section of Imizamo Yethu. 

‘Everything we did was in consultation with the project steering committee and local residents. In the end about 100 structures were moved slightly to make way for the roads and walkways, and in some instances we had to make do with narrower walkways and roads to accommodate the structures,’ said Councillor Herron.

‘We distributed a questionnaire to residents living along the roads that we worked on to get their views and input. We hosted public meetings and showed residents maps and photos of what we were planning to do. We also met with community leaders and stakeholders. This collaborative approach, where we work closely with the community, made a huge difference and assisted us in getting the job done despite the initial challenges,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area North, Councillor Suzette Little.

The streets that were reconstructed are A Boesak; J Naidoo, A Mlangeni; Bambata; C Hani; Hlintsa; M Goniwe; M Kotane; M Mabinda; N Aggett; S Biko, Molefe, H Joseph, and B February.

‘The contractor is still working on some minor snags which will be completed by mid-September. Also, we are planning to install the street names within the next three weeks or so,’ said Councillor Little.