Tshwane Civic Movement objects to R18b Salvokop Precinct Development Project

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Pretoria - The R18 billion Salvokop Precinct Development Project to incorporate the settlement as part of an inner city regeneration programme has come under threat from affiliates of the Tshwane Civic Movement.

Chairperson Khomotso Sephelle claimed that the organisation represented some Salvokop residents, who feared they would be left displaced when construction for building government offices got under way.

Sephelle said the project, first announced by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille last year, was done without proper consultation with residents.

"They (the government) have not told people about an alternative place where they would be relocated," he said. Residents were worried their houses would be demolished to make way for government buildings.

Ward 60 councillor Fortune Mampuru said the project had received blessings from all residents and everything was going as planned. The government had started with a tender process to hire a contractor to install bulk services such as water reticulation infrastructure, roads network and electrification.

He rubbished claims that the government wanted to demolish houses of the locals. The government will not throw people into the streets," Mampuru said. The site where the government would build offices for different departments was unoccupied land.

He said those spreading claims that the government would demolish houses were lying.

"We know them; they are playing dirty politics. They are not even staying in Salvokop. They are renting out properties in Salvokop and they only come to collect money every month.”

Mampuru identified members of the Tshwane Civic Movement as part of the so-called business forum notorious for demanding 30% shares from every major project across the city. "Those people are staying in Lotus Gardens and not in this area. They are part of the business forum that goes around telling contractors that they need their 30% or else the construction must stop. We know them. They are just trying to infiltrate the project," he said.

"They (the government) are busy with the enumerations study to determine how the future designs of the housing project would be included in the greater development plan."

Some residents have, however, expressed scepticism about how the major project would address their housing needs. One of more than 7 000 residents, Martha Nkoana, said: "I have been living in this area for more than 10 years and all what I have witnessed are all big projects happening around us, but we don't get to benefit from them. I am not sure whether this one will provide us with houses."

The Salvokop Development Precinct was a collaborative project between the three spheres of government to build four government headquarters, commercial buildings and a shelter for the vulnerable.

The government would utilise the land it acquired from Transnet for R79 million for the development. It was envisaged that 5 000 jobs would be created during construction of buildings expected to start in 2022, and must be completed and occupied by 2025.

A total development opportunity of 524 000m² was estimated to cost R18bn for development to accommodate four additional government head offices such as the Department of Correctional Services, the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Department of Social Development and the Department of Home Affairs.

Last month Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams highlighted that the Salvokop Precinct Development Project presented a special opportunity to regenerate the inner city.

The place had been selected because it was located close to a transport station that had different modes of transport to link Salvokop with the Pretoria CBD.

“Salvokop also provides an opportunity for a mixed land use development with offices, residential areas, possible retail outlets and restaurants, as well as heritage buildings,” said Williams.

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