Five families who have lived in Blikkiesdorp for nearly a decade have finally moved into their new homes.
For Ethel van Ballen, 45, it was a bittersweet moment as she began packing up her belongings in the temporary relocation area in Delft yesterday.
Just seven months ago, Ethel buried her husband Raymond, 60, who died of lung cancer.
She says it had always been Raymond’s dream to move from their zinc hokkie into a brick home with her and their four children, aged 26, 19, 18 and 16.
Seven years ago, the family moved to the dusty streets of Blikkiesdorp, also in Delft, thinking it would only last for a few months.
Before that, they lived in the Spes Bona Hostels in Athlone with 62 other families.
Ethel says she is grateful for her new home in Smartie Town, The Hague in Delft, and could not wait to move from the “hell” that is Blikkiesdorp.
“I am feeling great and I am feeling sad at the same time,” says Ethel, who lived in L Block.
“I lost my husband here; I buried him here. He is not here to realise his dream, but I know he is watching us down from Heaven and he is smiling.”
For Peter Lucas, 47 and his wife Susan, 41, who also moved from Spes Bona Hostels with their four children, life has been tough in Blikkiesdorp.
The parents say they got used to sleeping with one eye open, fearing being raped, robbed or murdered by gangsters in the area.
“Since 2013, people began to fight among one another and gangs were formed,” explains Susan, who sat guarding her belongings after her shack was dismantled.
“People were robbed at the gates, others murdered, children were raped; so many things happened here.
“You could not even visit your family and then your things are stolen.”
Former ward councillor for the area, Charles Esau, who fought for housing for the community, was also present.
“I am grateful to the Almighty, because as we walk here we see open spaces which means people are (finally) moving,” he says.
Blikkiesdorp was created in 2007 as a Temporary Relocation Area (TRA) by former Cape Town mayor, and current Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, at an estimated cost of R30 million.
About 15 000 people now live there.
The City did not comment by last night.