LETTER: Honour Tutu by transforming military bases
More than 25 years ago the defence review proposed turning redundant bases into social housing
More than 25 years have lapsed since the 1996-1998 parliamentary defence review, when former public works minister Jeff Radebe proposed that redundant apartheid-era military bases be redeveloped for the benefit of local communities, both in rural and urban areas.
The World Bank — on a donor basis — offered $8.5m (R128m in present day values) to fund a pilot project. That World Bank offer was, however, withdrawn in disgust in 1998 after ANC politicians scrambled for political turf and a “slice of the pie”.
The shacks in Khayelitsha, Du Noon and Joe Slovo (and elsewhere) that blight Cape Town are a glaring manifestation of the ANC’s betrayal of the struggle against apartheid, and the hypocrisy of the ANC slogan “A better life for all”.
As we mourn the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, while also celebrating his extraordinary contribution to SA’s liberation, it is time for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government to give substance to his promises to remedy the corruption the ANC has unleashed upon the country.
A stroke of the president’s pen is all that is needed to close down the Youngsfield and Wingfield military bases in Cape Town, their renaming as Tutupark and Mpilopark, and the redevelopment of the land for social housing.
University departments of architecture and the building industry could combine to design and construct a revolutionary project and a world-ranking social upliftment project to replace the shacks.
In the process, the construction of well-designed and well-built social housing would create desperately needed jobs.
Terry Crawford-Browne,World Beyond War SA (previously Anglican Church representative during the 1996-1998 parliamentary defence review)
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