Diepkloof covers an Area of approximately 2,50218 square kilometres and houses a Population of approximately 104 098 persons (2001 Census). It is located on the Eastern Border of Soweto and is close to main Transport routes into Johannesburg. The three main Areas in Diepkloof are each characterised by Settlement type and income. The bigger part of Diepkloof consists of the original grey three- and four-roomed Dwellings, called ‘matchbox’ Houses by the locals, which were Built by the previous Government to accommodate the large number of Black Migrants into the City. These are basic Houses that are relatively small in size; however, over the Years, the Residents have extended these Houses to develop large, sometimes Double Storey Houses. Zones 1 to 6 are characterised by these Dwellings (which were, as stated above, originally Built in the cheapest way possible). Diepkloof is also characterised by Hostels, located in Zone 6, which were Built to House large numbers of single male migrant workers. These Hostels were Built by the Apartheid government to provide basic shelter in the form of shared Dormitory space within a Room or Hall, and Communal Toilets and Kitchen Facilities. Diepkloof Extension was established in the 1980s, to Accommodate the relatively affluent amongst the Black Population. Diepkloof Extension is characterised by formal, owner-built, large Houses, owned by the Black lower and upper middle class. Presently, Diepkloof is characterised by higher than average House Prices as
compared to the other Suburbs of Soweto, presumably due to the quality of Houses, its Location and the quality of Services it receives. As already noted, Houses in Diepkloof Extension are beautiful, road conditions are good and Schools and playgrounds are also of a higher quality and these distinctive aspects supposedly have a bearing on prices of Houses. The third Area, previously known as Mandela Village, is an informal Settlement recently renamed Motsoaledi (after struggle hero and Rivonia trialist Elias Motsoaledi). It consists of informal shack Dwellings and lacks Basic Services or Amenities, compared to the other two Areas. This is the only informal settlement in Diepkloof. Compared to other Residential Places in Johannesburg, Diepkloof has a superior access to Services. It has a Library, Sport and Recreational Facilities, Community Halls, Health Facilities and Religious Buildings. However, these facilities are now Old are not
consistent throughout Diepkloof. For example Motsoaledi lacks these Social Facilities. Despite its ideal Location, Diepkloof also has a high rate of Unemployment, compared to Suburbs like Orlando West. Although Soweto Accommodates more than half of Johannesburg’s Population, it has only 3% of the City’s retail space. This dates back to Apartheid Land Use Policies that created little space for Economic activities within Black Residential Areas; Such land use Policies ensured that Blacks worked and shopped in Areas that were largely far away from their Residential Areas – in effect, creating dormitory townships. In congruence with this view, research shows that 74% of the approximately R8,9 billion spent annually by Sowetans is in transactions outside
Soweto (JPC Soweto Property Investor 2005). In recent years, Ccommercialisation has begun taking place in Soweto and also in parts of Diepkloof. This has been in the form of re-development and re-use of council-owned Land and Buildings. Established developers are showing interest not only in Diepkloof, but also in the greater Soweto Area. In the past, money and skilled people were moving out of Soweto for Economic engagement in Areas such as the Johannesburg CBD, which left these dormitory Suburbs, with only one form of Land Use (as there were limited ways in which people could invest their money in Soweto). In the past few years, the Municipality has worked to change this situation through bringing about different forms of developments and Land Uses in which Local Businesses and predominantly Black-Owned Businesses could settle and create Economic opportunities within Soweto. This is slowly changing the use of Land in Diepkloof, for example the Diepkloof Business District is specifically aimed at introducing different Land Uses to Diepkloof. The City is therefore selling its property to private investors to include them in the Formal Land Market, with the aim of incorporating Diepkloof into the formal land market of the City of Johannesburg.
27° 56' 16.8", -26° 14' 34.8"
Further Reading