Greater Cato Manor encompasses an area of 2000 hectares of which 900 hectares are suitable for development. It is strategically located seven kilometres to the west of the CBD, very close to the heart of Durban, the largest metropole in KwaZulu-Natal. The project area is bordered by the Pavilion Shopping Centre and the N3 freeway in the north, Sarnia Road in the south, Manor Gardens and the University of Natal in the east and Westville Prison in the west, and is traversed by the national N2 freeway.

The new Cato Manor is envisaged as a cluster of well planned, medium and high-density suburbs with the necessary schools, shops, clinics and recreational facilities, close to the city centre and serviced by an efficient mass transport system, where families can make their homes and gain access to employment.

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It is not just the scale of the Cato Manor development project that makes it unique, but rather that Cato Manor provides an ideal opportunity to redress the wrongs of the past and create a new, sustainable urban environment that meets the needs of the expanding metropolitan population.

Cato Manor was once a melting pot of Indian and African cultures, a vibrant, makeshift community of 100,000 people who wrote their own rules and survived and thrived for half a century in the shadow of the city that excluded them.

In the 1950's the cumulative effects of hostility and neglect, overcrowding and deteriorating living conditions, finally led to a wave of inter-racial violence and rebellion against the establishment.

The events turned the tide against Cato Manor, and in the darkest days of apartheid it was torn down to enforce racial segregation and open up a prime piece of real estate for white occupation. This never happened. Fragments of the communities continued to occupy the area but Cato Manor remained largely undeveloped, unplanned and under-utilised for the 25 years.

Key Opportunities
In the early 1990's the Cato Manor complex was identified as one of the region's prime development opportunities. Its potential to contribute to a post-apartheid urban reconstruction development process was recognised by the region's key stakeholders. The four key opportunities identified were:

  • To significantly restructure the apartheid geography of Durban through the orderly settlement of low-income households close to the heart of the metropolitan area, allowing them easier access to established and potential economic opportunities.
  • To create a symbol of reconciliation and non-racialism for the whole metropolitan community by integrating it with surrounding middle and upper-income areas.
  • To establish technologies, systems, procedures, institutional and human resources which will be applicable to other urban infill and restructuring projects in the Durban metropolitan area and elsewhere in the country.
  • To restructure the region's transportation systems by establishing a new mass transit system linking the  populace of Cato Manor with opportunities and facilities elsewhere in the region.
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