The apartment block in Pretoria was evacuated in April this year because it was deemed to be too dangerous for the 700 families staying there. The City of Tshwane said it had provided shelter for 388 families while the building is being renovated. The renovations will cost an estimated R750 million.
The municipality and the former residents of Schubart Park had a lengthy dispute regarding the residents’ evictions and there were violent clashes between police and residents in September 2011.
The Constitutional Court later found that the municipality had to provide housing for the evacuated residents and that they had the right to return to their homes.
According to the governor of negotiations between the city and the residents, Reverend Frank Chikane, they are making headway. “Altogether 69 more families have been verified to have lived in Schubart Park and await accommodation.
“As the vetting process continues this number will be increased and allocations will take place on a rolling basis,” said Chikane. The residents have to pay “an agreed amount towards the cost of their accommodation” and, according to the city, they will have to sign contracts with their new landlord.
After the renovation has been completed, the verified residents will move back into Schubart Park. The building will provide both social housing and rental stock to cater for the returning residents, according to Chikane.
In another effort to improve the inner city, executive mayor Kgotsientso Ramokgopa is pushing for better public transport and accessibility in the Pretoria central business district. Construction of the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transport system will be completed by April 2014.