Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct: briefing

Arts and Culture

30 July 2002
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Meeting report

30 July 2002


Ms MA Njobe (ANC)
Documents handed out:

Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct presentation document

Mr Mokena Makeka briefed the Committee on the Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct, which he had developed as part of his thesis during his architectural studies. Mr Makeka touched on what the precinct was all about; why the precinct was needed and possible positive spin-offs for the city of Cape Town. He explained that the Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct was a space within Cape Town that would accelerate a process of renewal and inclusivity to the city, the Western Cape and the country as a whole. He said that it held a great potential of becoming a landmark jewel in the national crown of societal consciousness - a symbol of a young and brave democracy in the Mother City of the nation of South Africa.

Mr Mokena Makeka briefed the Committee on the Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct. [For Mr Makeka's presentation, please refer to the attached Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct document]

Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) raised a concern that she did not have enough information on how the Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct was initiated and how it slotted in with other plans of the City of Cape Town.

Mr Makeka explained that the self-donated project was conceived two years ago in his Architectural Thesis which was part of his studies at the University of Cape Town. He had thought of using his thesis as way of generating intellectual discussion around the issue. Subsequently, he took the issue up with the former Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Dr Serote.

With regard to the question of how the project slots in with the other plans of the City of Cape Town, Mr Makeka said that he had met with the different City officials-not the politicians, and they were fairly happy with the project. This, he said, was the case notwithstanding the concerns they had in respect of who was going to own the project and such issues as the height restrictions of building.

Miss N Mtsweni (ANC) said that she was impressed by the presentation. She then asked where Cape Town was going to be a gateway to.

Mr Makeka said that he was aware that a gateway was often understood in a physical sense. He stressed the fact, though, that he saw Cape Town's gateway as a conceptual one. He said that it could tie with the other national and international points. Often tourists coming to Africa start with South Africa and that Cape Town could therefore be used as a gateway in that way. He said it could also connect with the people at the train station.

Ms Van Wyk stressed the need for sense of place where there was a reference to history. She expressed her objection to the high rise buildings found all over the city of Cape Town. She said that she liked the scale of the Africa Gateway Millenium Precinct and its human reference.

Professor IJ Mohammed (ANC) thanked the presenter for the trouble he had taken to put up the information. However, he had a problem with regard to engineering and transport resulting from the influx of people visiting the proposed precinct. He also wondered whether the proposed development should indeed take place where it was planned to take place. He said that he had a sense of sadness about the possible removal of part of history due to the removal of statutes, among other things. He cautioned against overshadowing of one era of history because it was said to be painful. He then asked if the proposed precinct would be a matter of helping reconciliation or a matter of alienating certain people, like the Boers. He did not want an overemphasis of one period of history.

Mr Makeka, replied that alienating certain people and an era of history was not what they were intending to do. He saw the proposed precinct as project of reconciliation, having and featuring different political icons from across all eras of history and groups of people. He also stated that plans were still preliminary and therefore subject to further scrutiny and discussions.

Ms SF Baloyi (ANC) said that projects like the one Mr Makeka was proposing should be welcomed because they got people to start thinking and talking; and begin to see Cape Town in a different light. Tourists who visited different places wanted to learn the history of the places they visited. She said that the proposed precinct would therefore be good. She said that Mr Makeka should be commended for his work particularly in the light of the fact that he funded the project through his own money.

Miss Njobe asked Mr Makeka if there was anything he wanted the Committee to assist with. She also wanted to know if Mr Makeka had interacted with the Departments of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology about the proposed precinct and if yes, what was its response.

Mr Makeka said that he wanted advice on how he could carry his work forward and whether the Committee considered it worth taking it forward. With regard to the question on interacting with the Department, Mr Makeka said he had indeed made contacts with the Department and was told to go through proper channels like going via the Portfolio Committee.

Ms Van Wyk suggested that the Western Cape Provincial government needed to be made aware of the proposed precinct.

Professor Mohamed suggested that the proposed precinct be exhibited in the Assembly and that the Committee Chairperson should approach the Speaker of Parliament to check if that could be done.

Ms Baloyi wanted to know if the Local and Provincial governments had been approached on the proposed precinct.

Mr Makeka said that he had made contact with the MEC for Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in the Western Cape and was told that the project dealt with national issues and therefore should be addressed to the national government.

After promising to explore ways of taking the project forward, the Chairperson thanked Mr Makeka for his briefing, and adjourned the meeting.



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