Three broad overlapping stages were envisaged as comprising the overall development process in Cato Manor: (i) a planning stage to establish the pre-conditions for development and lay the foundations for delivery; (ii) a public investment stage to develop the physical and social infrastructure; and (iii) a private investment and capital formation stage. The third stage has been expanded to include an emphasis on Local Economic Development (LED) and social development. (See graph below).

Phase I

Securing the fundamentals for development (1994-1997)
In its first three years of operation the CMDA focused on positioning the CMDP for intensive delivery and implementation. By 1997, plans and policies had been formulated and technical and social support secured. Land was effectively assembled, statutory and legal constraints were cleared, land invasions had been successfully halted and improved law and order had created an environment conducive to large-scale delivery. In addition, major public investment had been mobilised and directed into projects, sound working relations amongst key partners had been established, roles had been clarified and manpower mobilised and trained to drive the development initiatives forward.

Spatial Planning
The spatial planning of Cato Manor has actively sought to promote the ideals of ‘integration' and ‘compact cities'. The key structuring elements of the spatial framework are two activity corridors, Bellair and Booth Roads, a mixed use Central Node located at the confluence of these two corridors, an open space system and a major transport grid. Residential precincts, as well as social, recreational and other facilities, are located within the transport grid.

Road infrastructure has largely been developed in line with the original policy framework. The upgrades of Francois Road and Booth Road East have resulted in more traffic moving through Cato Manor, notably along Spine, Booth and Francois Roads. In this way, the spatial integration of Cato Manor into the rest of the city is unfolding.

The development of accessible, high intensity activity corridors, housing a mixture of economic and other activities at ground level and residential space above, was envisaged for Bellair and Booth Roads. Their expected development has not yet transpired, highlighting the need for private sector involvement in the commercial and residential opportunities along these routes. Public housing policy and the limited buying power of residents have further impeded development of these two activity spines.

Open space corridors, linked to the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (D’MOSS), take up around half of the project area. Planning has had to balance a concern with conservation and sustainable development with the need to uplift the quality of life in Cato Manor.

New land use legislation is expected to facilitate more effective land use management and building control in Cato Manor, and the rest of the city, in the future.

The holistic development approach, which considers social, economic and environmental issues during planning and implementation, has impacts that will only be realised in the medium to long-term. In the meantime, greater levels of private sector investment need to be attracted to the area.

Public Safety
Lawlessness and crime, exacerbated by volatile social and political dynamics, seriously threatened to undermine development in the CMDP’s early years. Community safety initiatives, more effective policing, infrastructure development and the creation of economic opportunities have all contributed to an overall reduction of crime in Cato Manor. A 2000 crime audit found that crime rates for a number of crime types in Cato Manor largely mirrored those for the rest of Durban, while murder and assault were lower in Cato Manor than in the rest of Durban.

Land Claims
A series of challenges around land issues were successfully dealt with between 1993 and 1997 including substantial achievements in combating land invasions and resolving matters associated with the restoration of land rights. In 1994 a Commission on Restitution of Land Rights and a Land Claims Court were established to investigate and address the claims of people dispossessed of land under apartheid. A total of 5 722 land claims were received by the Commission in respect of properties in Cato Manor. Due to the time that would have been needed to validate and settle this volume of claims, a strategy aimed at addressing legitimate claims, whilst allowing the development to proceed, had to be developed. Accordingly, the CMDA placed an application before the Land Claims Court in terms of Section 34 of the Restitution of Land Rights Act No. 22 of 1994, requesting, in the interests of the holistic and sustainable development of Cato Manor, that land not be restored to individual claimants and that other forms of redress such as alternative land or financial compensation be used. Over 400 former residents opposed the Application. Following a protracted court case and months of negotiations, the historic Land Claims Settlement Agreement, the first of its kind in South Africa, was signed in May 1997, enabling the development to proceed whilst claims were being resolved. Restitution options for claimants included financial compensation, alternative land in Cato Manor and, where feasible, restoration of the original land holding.

The position at the end of 2002 in respect of Cato Manor land claims which have been processed in terms of the Section 34 Settlement Agreement is as follows:

  • 302 claims were settled on the basis of ‘financial compensation’.
  • 28 claims were settled on the basis that the claimants would be offered alternative land.
  • 22 claims were settled on the basis that the properties concerned are ‘restorable’.
  • 70 claims included properties which are situated outside the Section 34 boundary and were accordingly not processed any further in terms of the Agreement.
  • Three claims were rejected by the Regional Land Claims Commission.
  • Seven claims were withdrawn by the claimants.
  • 13 claims which proceeded to Arbitration were found to be ‘not feasible to restore’ by the Arbitration Panel.

Phase II

Delivery at scale (1997-2002)
Large-scale delivery began in earnest from 1997 and the massive public investment in the area became increasingly evident in the rapid transformation of Cato Manor’s physical landscape. The CMDP’s main thrust at that time was on eliminating backlogs in housing and engineeering and social infrastructure. Rapid progress on this front allowed the emphasis to shift towards programmes directly addressing community and local economic development issues. An impressive rate of delivery, encompassing a wide range of projects, took place amid a series of threats and challenges - some originating in factors external to the CMDP and others from tensions within Cato Manor and its structures - to which the CMDA had to respond imaginatively and swiftly. Details of delivery are contained on pages 10-22 of this report.

The Mid-Term Review
Cato Manor is one of the largest of the EU’s South African development projects. In 2000, as part of its funding agreement with the South African government, the EU carried out a Mid-Term Review, undertaken by a team of independent reviewers, in order to compare mid-term results with the CMDP’s initial objectives. The overall conclusion of the Review team was that the CMDP had been highly successful. The Review gave strong support to the CMDP and provided guidance on its institutional strengthening and positioning. It also had the effect of bench-marking the CMDP in national and international contexts. Recommendations focussed on the sustainability and replicability of the CMDP and highlighted the vital need to sustain economic projects and to document the lessons learned so that they can be applied in other urban development projects.

Phase III

Private investment and capital formation (2002 and beyond)
The CMDP is moving towards the end of the second phase of public investment and large-scale delivery. By the end of 2002, private investment in the form of housing and commercial/ industrial development was gathering momentum. Phase three of the project will focus on four primary strategic thrusts:

  • Social Development
  • Local Economic and Human Resource Development
  • Escalation of Private Sector Investment
  • Completion of the Housing Programme

Research and Documentation Project
Launched in March 2002, a three-phased Research and Documentation Project will contribute to the replicability of the CMDP and facilitate dissemination of the CMDP experience. The political and developmental history of the CMDA will be recounted, core lessons and the circumstances leading to particular outcomes will be identified and analysed, and examples of Best Practice will be highlighted. The CMDP’s achievements in turning urban development problems into solutions, managing complex, large-scale development projects, and maintaining progress within a continuously shifting political and institutional environment are of great relevance, but of equal importance is the establishment of a model for integrated, area-based urban development targeted at the poor. The main target audiences of this project are urban development students and practitioners in the public, private and NGO sectors, locally and internationally.


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