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Dunoon residents decry lack of info from officials on de-densification plan

Dunoon is one of the two areas in the Western Cape earmarked for the intervention.

Dunoon in Cape Town is one of the areas identified to be de-densified to curb the spread of coronavirus in South Africa. Picture: Kaylynn  Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Government is expecting to move the first wave of residents to new homes by the end of July as part of its de-densification process aimed at clamping down on the spread of COVID-19.

Dunoon is one of the two areas in the Western Cape earmarked for the intervention.

The project would see very densely populated areas across the country thinned out so that it is easier for residents to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Dunoon is also one of the areas where COVID-19 infection numbers were rising and residents were getting nervous about what they perceived to be a lack of communication from authorities.

A few weeks ago, the Dunoon community was told about the “grand plan” that would see some residents relocated from their informal structures into temporary homes, but since then they said they had heard nothing.

Dunoon committee chairperson Sinethemba Matomela said they were in favour of the re-blocking plan because the reality was that residents couldn’t practice social distancing when their homes were on top of each other.

“We are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic because our area is so densely populated and people can’t practice social distancing in the informal settlements,” Matomela said.

But, Matomela said government was not consulting and updating the community. He said that residents kept asking questions but they were not getting answers, and as the number of confirmed cases in the area increased, residents were getting more and more nervous.

Matomela said that back in 2009, the City of Cape Town developed a temporary relocation area called New Rest. But, in this community he said there was inadequate water and sanitation.

Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements Tertius Simmers denied there was a lack of communication with the community.

“We have our sub-council chair, the relevant ward councillor, the ward committee structure, and in certain communities there are also formally recognised leadership structures,” Simmers said.

The department told EWN the first group of residents should be able to move out at the end of July, but that was dependent on planning approvals being granted rapidly.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.