1960 (Part 1)

A series of letters within the Department of Coloured Affairs highlights its strong objection to the Village Management Board’s newly proposed land stating that the following:

Typical of Swartland, though not a swamp, very wet in winter and will have to be drained.
It raises concerns about the potential dangers of the nearby train station for children and drunk people and the distance from the white town.
It believes the land northeast of the town would be more suitable even if it is located next to the white Dutch Reformed Church and the white school.
Coloured children could still easily access the coloured school from this location.
Questions why the coloured people had to be pushed onto land that was for the most part useless.
They don’t think the Village Management Board showed the correct area
Notes that the coloured community are not in favour of the move to this new area and should they be forced to move, will rather consider moving to Riebeek Wes or Hermon.

It also raises the issue of compensation for the original housing of coloured residents in the old residential area:

“The big problem facing the Village Management Board is the question of the compensation of the houses which people erected in the old residential area. The Minister might be thinking that we should persuade the coloureds to back down from their demands. The land ultimately belongs to the Village Management Board and unless the Minister is personally involved it is doubtful if the Group Areas Development Act will be implemented here. Removal under the Slums Act cannot take place without there being other accommodation available and I am not sure that the Village Management Board doesn’t have serious reservations. In other words, although they do not say so, they are hoping that the coloureds will put up their own housing. With the growth of Riebeek Wes, 4 or 5 miles from here, a large scale housing project at Riebeek Kasteel could be a dangerous undertaking.”

By August, a follow-up internal letter suggests that the Deputy Minister of the Interior [PW Botha at the time] requests the use of field workers to persuade the coloured community to move.

The new area is later approved by the department on condition that the coloured neighbourhood be built on the tobacco land and not the swamp area northeast of the coloured school. The Department of Coloured Affairs also reconsidered its original objections and would assist the Village Management Board wherever necessary.

It is not known whether the four coloured families who lived in the white residential area or any of the coloured families ever received compensation for their homes once they were evicted.

Cape Town Records Centre: 1960 Notas oor besoek KUS 388 85/5/260