Detailed TOC
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26

Chapter 17 - Chances for Ex-Soldiers


Only a few days after the Second World War came to an end with the Allied victory in Europe, Milnerton received a tacit tribute to its impor­tance in the solution of certain current problems. Major J. C. Collings, Government Director of Housing, telephoned asking for "an urgent meeting to discuss the matter of houses for ex-Servicemen". At the inter­view the Major, who was accompanied by Mr. D. Thomson of his depart­ment, "outlined the whole housing problem and stated that his position had been rendered unnecessarily difficult by the existence of a multiplicity of well-intentioned local Committees. The Government's main difficulty is to find really suitable land within reasonable reach of the City. To build on hillsides is expensive and in some ways undesirable."


"My attitude as Director of Housing," he continued, "is a desire to co-operate, wherever possible, with landowners and with local authorities. The Government has clear and very wide powers under the recent Emergency Legislation, but will only exercise such powers if and when necessary." Milnerton Estates regarded this as a compliment and, to an expression of appreciation by its Directorate, Collings replied: "In brief, the Peninsula urgently needs, in round figures as a basic minimum 1 000 new houses. Of these the Cape Town area will provide about 400, and other centres between 400 and 500, leaving approximately 100 to 200. These, I feel, could easily be arranged at Milnerton, where it is well known that large tracts of privately-owned and suitable land are undeveloped.”


On learning from Milnerton Estates Limited of recent negotiations with the B.E.S.L. and Moths, Major Collings expressed the view "that the Company offers to the Ex-Servicemen's Organisations were generous". After a long and detailed discussion he then agreed to reduce his request to 50 houses "for superior types of South Africans, who will be desirable residents in a good class residential area, each such house to be on two lots". Moreover they were not to be "of a monotonous or standar­dised type", and would have to comply with the Company's general condi­tions. Essential services, namely roads, water and electric light, were not yet available but he would see to it that the Government provided "that the houses will be dotted about, not placed close together like a settlement."


Thenceforth the scheme was vigorously put into effect, some of the first transactions being dated October 1945, when Major P. J. Jooste acquired no fewer than four lots at the astonishing inclusive price of £288, Major Langerman another four at £368 and it was announced that further transactions were pending! Such were the high standards maintained that a set of four plans, submitted by the local representative of the National Housing Commission, was rejected "as they do not conform to the arrangements come to with the Director of Housing and to the Company's requirement as to design and value".


Early in 1946 an interview followed between the Chairman of the Milnerton Estates and the National Housing Commission, when it was agreed:


"A. To accept fresh plans produced for two types of four-roomed houses (Type B 5 and B 7) and to permit five houses to be built to each of these two plans.

       B. To cancel the offer of sites, previously made, for 10 houses and to substitute sites in two blocks between Algoa Road and Beaufort Road.

C. To sign the Agreement of Sale and Purchase as received from the Commission, subject to amendments as to the substituted lots, and subject to the embodiment therein of the Company's standard conditions of transfer."


Henceforth too representatives of the National Housing Commission submitted plans for approval for any further five-roomed houses. Apart from the original Military project, Mi1nerton itself joined in the official National Housing Scheme, the pleasant atmosphere being further stimulated, in June of the same year, when after a further deputation from the Ex-Servicemen's Organisations, it was agreed to sell land at pre-War prices, less 20 per cent, to 12 approved applicants. This policy, we learn, was "highly appreciated". Following a Parliamentary grant of additional statutory powers, the National Housing Commission completed its pro­posals for the erection of 50 homes at Milnerton, and by June 28, 1946, ten of these had already been built or were under construction.


This additional influx of population was accompanied by a spurt in business, enquiries being received for the erection, on a rental basis by the Company, of a garage, a cafe, a grocer's shop, a chemist shop and a butcher's shop, in what was, strictly-speaking a residential area.


Growing interest in the progress of the township was shown by the Government in its purchase of two lots for the erection of a Police Station, while the sense of civic spirit was stimulated by the setting up of a Ratepayers' Association. (August 1946)


Brought to you by Blaauwberg Online