Many Capetonians will be familiar with the three quarries above the Bo-Kaap, and the growing concern about criminal activity that is linked to this area. What you probably don’t know is that this part of Cape Town is also steeped in history, as stone from the quarries was used to build very early structures; and the diverse, rich culture of the Bo-Kaap stems from the Malay settlers who were based here.
Until earlier this year, there were 23 official structures at the Wash House Quarry, which housed families that have been living here since the 1980s. Unfortunately there has been an influx of people who are involved with criminal activity and drugs, creating a negative perception of the area as a whole.
The City of Cape Town has taken proactive steps to address this issue, and properly secure the site. They have been in negotiations with the residents since 2011, and the City has arranged for the relocaton of families to a new housing development called Pelican Park in Strandfontein, with their consent. This has been met with mixed emotions and responses, and is a very sensitive issue. Ward councillor Dave Bryant has been instrumental to the success of this project, and has been working closely with the relevant role players to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
10 of the 21 families have already moved in to their new homes, and two more are in the process of moving. Three more have been approved, and five are waiting for Identity Documents. Some of the children are finishing the term at their current schools, to ensure there is minimal disruption to their studies. Pelican Park is located next to the False Bay Reserve and False Bay Ecology Park, as well as a new church, mosque and school.
The next step is for the City to secure the quarry with proper fencing; and then there is a plan in place to install flood lights and CCTV cameras later this year. As it’s an important heritage site, any development in the future will be low impact, such as a public park.