1959

In July 1959, Mr. Jacobus Johannes Esterhuysen – Principal of the white primary school in Riebeek Kasteel and chair of the Village Management Board (VMB) – proposes that the Dutch Reformed Church donates land as a gift to the board for the establishment of a new coloured settlement.

“Removal of the coloured residential area: Brother JJ Esterhuysen proposes, on behalf of the Village Management Board, the urgency of the establishment of a separate residential area for the coloured community as well as the urgency of the situation. As a result of the upcoming burdens of the Village Management Board with regard to the water scheme, the tar road in front of the church the school hostel, the Board finds it difficult to purchase the land from the church and makes a friendly request that the church donate the land to the board.”

The urgency for the removal of the coloured community from the town becomes more prevalent in the church minutes and meetings during this period. Two representatives from the Group Areas Board inspects the proposed land on offer and approve the Board’s proposed land next to the coloured school. According to a report, all other options are denied.

  • The land Mr. Pretorius (Dept. of Coloured Affairs inspector) proposed is no longer available and also not suitable because it was too near the white school and too far away from the coloured school.
  • The land the Board proposed to buy from Mr van Niekerk was too valuable.
  • A new site was proposed by the Board, near the damp area but where the tobacco was grown.
  • While the area was still far from town, almost two kilometres, the Board does not think this was a problem because coloured people in the cities live much further away and cannot afford public transport.
  • The nearby cellars are also not an issue. Apparently, only the white people in town who relied on the support of coloured people buying alcohol from their shops were complaining.
  • The railway line gave the coloured people an easy route to Hermon for a drinking binge.
  • Mr. Esterhuysen commented that no tobacco farmer had ever complained about the stench from the cellar’s waster water dam.

The Village Management Board had a vested interest in securing unwanted land for the new coloured housing scheme. To strengthen his proposal, Mr. Esterhuysen even offered the church half the sum of each erf sold to the coloured people, if they donated the land. The church accepted the proposal.

Reference:
NGK Archives: GEM-K 2796
NGK Archives: GEM-K 2796
Cape Town Records: 1959 Verslag oor besoek 2 KUS 288 85/5/260