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Housing is being planned for the vast tract of land that is Northern Farm, along with schools, parks and everything that is going to make a happy, sustainable, mixed-income community.
PLANS are on the table for a major development at Diepsloot’s Northern Farm by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), in the hopes of building a community.

The new housing development will straggle the N14The new housing development will straggle the N14Northern Farm, 2 600 hectares in size, was established in 1954. It is the breeding grounds of the bovelder, a uniquely South African breed of cattle. The Northern Works Sewerage Treatment Plant, one of the biggest sewage farms in the country, is also on the site. The cattle breeding area and the sewage plant are separated by the N14 highway.
The commercial development being proposed by the JPC, called Ga Noka (Diepsloot Ext 8), spans about 287 663m2 and includes 6 260 residential units, three primary schools, one secondary school and one community park. Work is scheduled to take place during the course of 2011.

Brian Mahlangu, the JPC’s public relations and media officer, says the proposal is for a high-density suburb, with densities ranging from 40 to 80 units per hectare. A mixed income community is also proposed, which seeks to include lower income earners in a wealthy and environmentally rich neighbourhood.

Residential units will have a mix of affordability. Of the subsidised units, 50 percent will be half affordable units and half market units, with prices ranging from R200 000 to R400 000 each and from R400 000 to R800 000 each, respectively. The former will appeal to those earning less than R3 500 a month and the latter to those earning R3 500 to R10 000 a month.

The JPC, along with other City departments and municipal owned entities, has proposed that the project be a private sector investment, using a development sale and lease agreement.

Work will include the establishment of a township to create certainty, maximize values and attract viable developers; there will be a public request for proposals; those proposals will be awarded and agreements signed; and the site must be developed in line with the City’s guidelines and principles on private sector investors.

Diepsloot township is expanding into Northern FarmDiepsloot is expanding into Northern FarmThe proposals will ensure that the development principles are achieved. These include an obligation from the developer to deliver subsidised and affordable units, towards which the City will contribute by using funding from the National Housing Subsidy Scheme.
According to the development guidelines, the project must:

Include the dispersal of units, or pepper-potting, in which subsidised units are spread throughout the suburb;
Include opportunities for social interaction that include shared streets, children’s play areas or public schools;
Avoid stigmatisation of subsidised houses;
Ensure a high quality public environment, streets, pavements, parks and community facilities;
Encourage pedestrian activity;
Use public art to encourage community identity; and
Connect the community to the environment – it must not be isolated.
Mahlangu explains that the property plan proposes to keep some of the area’s present uses and relocate others.

Joburg Water
Those that will be kept include the existing treatment works plus land for future expansion; the proposed northern landfill; the municipal cemetery; the Porcupine Park conservation area, which will be retained in the township and zoned as public open space; the existing municipal houses and school, which were developed in support of Joburg Water’s functions; and the existing temporary settlement area, which was developed by the department of housing to relocate people from Diepsloot.

Uses that will be relocated are the existing farm operations, the model aeroplane club and the quad bike area.

Mahlangu says: “The provision of a high-quality public environment is crucial to the development of a high-quality development. This environment will consist of: good quality public schools, a well-developed system of public open spaces [parks and boulevards], a well-designed commercial centre, and a co-ordinated provision of community facilities.

“It is proposed that the development be complimented by a ‘public environment programme’ (PEP), which will co-ordinate the planning and implementation of public facilities and amenities. The PEP will co-ordinate local, provincial and national government role players as well as private sector and charitable stakeholders, and will seek out funding opportunities,” he says.

Wetlands will be left untouchedThe conservation area will be left untouched and incorporated into the new developmentThe area includes the sewage plant and the cattle breeding grounds, separated by the N14 highway, and the Diepsloot Nature Reserve. Northern Farm also has recreational areas for hikers, bikers, horse riders and bird lovers.
Bird watching
Over 300 bird species have been recorded on the farm, including a breeding pair of fish eagles. Others are the black-crowned night heron, great crested grebe, goliath heron, little bittern, Cape long claw, red-capped lark, African fish eagle, long-crested eagle, Ovambo sparrowhawk, black sparrowhawk, African purple swamp hen, green-backed heron, African black duck, African spoonbill, red-chested flufftail, Cape grassbird and comb duck.

In the summer, the grassland and cattle kraal often have yellow wagtail, Amur falcon, greater kestrel, African pipit and pied starling. Nomadic birds like the capped wheatear are seen regularly and there are numbers of long-tailed widowbird and white-winged widowbird.

The rest of the area comprises scrublands, grasslands and exotic trees; the poplars are particularly used for nesting by birds each year.

The JPC, which manages the nature reserve, is responsible for enhancing the City’s property portfolio both socially and economically to increase economic growth and broad-based economic empowerment, while creating jobs and economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities and businesses.

Mahlangu notes: “At the JPC we use an open tender system in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act and its various regulations. This allows everybody an opportunity to participate in the economic development of the world-class African city in an open, fair and transparent manner.”

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