Old Naledi Gets P152 million facelift
By Seeletso Lekgaba
Old Naledi is Gaborone's largest and oldest township. The settlement bears the hallmark traits of a rehabilitated shantytown. It lies on the periphery of Gaborone city and the original settlement is characterized by informal and unguided urban planning with a near absence of a formal street grid, sanitation networks, electricity and telephones. The township has a large population of poor residents some of whom live in improvised dwellings made from scrap materials.
All this is set to change as the former squatter settlement is undergoing a major facelift with the provision of essential infrastructure. The facelift is one of the largest infrastructure projects ever handled by Gaborone City Council. The project, which will include provision of a sewerage network, tarred roads and associated storm water drainage system, water reticulation and street lighting is estimated to cost P152m and is expected to be completed in December 2010.
The Old Naledi Infrastructure Upgrading Project was preceded by a socio-economic survey which revealed the nature of the social networks in Old Naledi and the importance of the township as a home for low income workers of the city. This Project has affected 1,045 plots and only 52 of these have had their owners relocated to Gaborone West Block 7.
The bulk of the plots being expropriated will give way to provision of amenities and facilities such as playgrounds and taxi ranks which were hitherto not provided for in the township. Twenty eight of the plots will give way to 7 playgrounds; while 6 plots will be incorporated into a plot that will house a clinic; 5 plots will be merged to house the Old Naledi Education Centre, formerly Makgasa School;4 plots will give way to a taxi and bus rank; and 8 plots will give way to roads and associated infrastructure.
Compensation for the affected plots has had its challenges. It emerged during the exercise that many of the plot holders had relocated from Old Naledi and were either residing in their home villages as retirees or had moved to other up market housing locations. This made it difficult to identify candidates for compensation for properties that had to make way for the infrastructure upgrading project.
The City of Gaborone is nonetheless committed to identifying legitimate plot owners and ensuring that they are appropriately compensated.