It is not just the scale of the Cato Manor
development project that makes it unique, but rather that Cato Manor
provides an ideal opportunity to redress the wrongs of the past
and create a new, sustainable urban environment that meets the needs
of the expanding metropolitan population.
was once a melting pot of Indian and African cultures, a vibrant,
makeshift community of 100,000 people who wrote their own rules
and survived and thrived for half a century in the shadow of the
city that excluded them.
In the 1950's
the cumulative effects of hostility and neglect, overcrowding and
deteriorating living conditions, finally led to a wave of inter-racial
violence and rebellion against the establishment.
turned the tide against Cato Manor, and in the darkest days of apartheid
it was torn down to enforce racial segregation and open up a prime
piece of real estate for white occupation. This never happened.
Fragments of the communities continued to occupy the area but Cato
Manor remained largely undeveloped, unplanned and under-utilised
for the 25 years.
In the early 1990's the Cato Manor complex
was identified as one of the region's prime development opportunities.
Its potential to contribute to a post-apartheid urban reconstruction
development process was recognised by the region's key stakeholders.
The four key opportunities identified were:
- To significantly restructure
the apartheid geography of Durban through the orderly settlement
of low-income households close to the heart of the metropolitan
area, allowing them easier access to established and potential
- To create a symbol of
reconciliation and non-racialism for the whole metropolitan community
by integrating it with surrounding middle and upper-income areas.
- To establish technologies,
systems, procedures, institutional and human resources which will
be applicable to other urban infill and restructuring projects
in the Durban metropolitan area and elsewhere in the country.
- To restructure the region's
transportation systems by establishing a new mass transit system
linking the populace of Cato Manor with opportunities and
facilities elsewhere in the region.