Land a key resource for development

Mkhululi Gaula.

The Khayelitsha Community Trust (KCT) has been entrusted with developing the 78-hectare piece of land known as the Khayelitsha Central Business District (CBD), bordering Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki roads.

This was done through a Land Availability Agreement (LAA) that was entered into between KCT and the City of Cape Town (CoCT) as the landowner ceding development rights over to KCT.

As part of Phase 1 developments, over the years KCT managed to enter into partnerships with various entities including government and financial institutions that saw the development of the existing KCT Mall, the magistrate’s court, multi-purpose centre and quite recently, the NGO office block known as Isivivana Centre.

Further developments are planned for the Khayelitsha CBD hence KCT has met with various stakeholders presenting its development plans for the land in question which comprises of commercial as well as residential opportunities.

In all instances the deal-breaker for potential investors is the fact that KCT does not have full control over the Khayelitsha CBD, that is, through land ownership. The need for the transfer of the land to KCT is the primary goal or major milestone for unlocking project delivery. KCT is working around the clock robustly engaging with the City to ensure this milestone is achieved.

On May 13 Mayor Dan Plato and the KCT Board of Trustees met to discuss one single issue – the acceleration of land transfer from the City to KCT.

The benefits of concluding such a transaction cannot be overstated and in fact, the Isivivana Centre is a recent case in point. The said land availability agreement allows for KCT to acquire the land from the City at heavily discounted rates but KCT can only pass it on to third parties at market-related rates unless the third party entity is a co-developer with KCT and there is no necessity for land ownership to change hands. 

The establishment of Isivivana Centre was premised on back-to-back land sale transactions where KCT bought the land from the City and in turn, KCT sold the land to a company known as Atlantic Philanthropies. Today the Isivivana Centre is home to a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are providing services primarily to the local community and have employed young people from Khayelitsha.

A number of local entrepreneurs have also benefited extensively from this facility at nominal rental rates, eg. Linomtha Properties, Nkomshish Laundromat, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, 4 Roomed Ekasie Restaurant, among others.

It is these types of synergies that can be positively harnessed should there be close collaboration between KCT and the City for future development of Khayelitsha CBD land. 

The said meeting with the mayor brought hope that there is the will from the local authority to transfer the land to KCT. 

The Trust is fully aware that compliance with regulatory instruments like the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations (MATR) must be observed without necessarily diluting the noble intentions of the land availability agreement and its objectives towards the social and economic upliftment of the Khayelitsha community. The meeting set the following parameters:

1 That the transfer of the four hectares of housing land will be expedited.

2. A report on the additional retail land will serve before Council by no later than July 2019.

3 That the report on the acquired land for a private hospital will serve before Council in August 2019.

Achievements and anticipated deliverables:

A Khayelitsha-based security company is contracted to the KCT Mall, employing 24 security guards.

The maintenance and repairs at the KCT Mall is performed by local service providers who are on the mall database.

All contracted services including waste management, cleaning, etc are sourced from Khayelitsha entrepreneurs.

The KCT Mall management is providing 24-hour storage facilities to informal traders at almost no cost to enable safe and convenient trading.

The construction of 368 Phase 1 housing units is to commence soon and all beneficiaries will be identified and sourced from Khayelitsha.

The Trust is committed to putting the people of Khayelitsha first in planning and execution of its development projects hence robust public participation initiatives are always promoted and pursued. However, for KCT to achieve these objectives local companies need to ensure they are able to meet the compliance requirements in their respective trades as quality control cannot be overlooked or compromised.

While KCT is currently engaged with resolving land transfer issues with the City of Cape Town Municipality, the Khayelitsha business community and contractors must ensure readiness to participate and benefit economically from pending development opportunities in the Khayelitsha CBD.

Mkhululi Gaula is the Chief Executive of Khayelitsha Community Trust (KCT).