Put low-cost housing in rich areas - Ehrenreich

2016-07-01 05:38
Tony Ehrenreich. (Tammy Petersen)

Tony Ehrenreich. (Tammy Petersen)

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Cape Town - Integrating suburbs like Claremont and Constantia with low-cost housing will pay democratic dividends, Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said on Thursday. 

“At the end of apartheid, we understood and accepted that a lot of our wealth was stolen by the whites and that we could do nothing about that. We would find a way to exist together and build a society,” he said in his address to the Cape Town Press Club.

“Yet we don’t see the reciprocation from the other side, saying they would be willing to sacrifice a drop in their property value [to see their community integrated with low cost housing], to see a black man living next door so that my children can experience black people, not only them working in the garden or kitchen.”

There was not one example of an area in the Mother City where low-cost housing was built in a leafy suburb.

“For six days of the week, people would travel from Mitchell’s Plain or Khayelitsha to work in Constantia or Claremont, where there are pockets of public land that could be developed with affordable homes for people,” he said.

“We need to start making an effort to break down the divides between us. We need to appreciate that the dreams and ideals of a poor black man are exactly the same as that of a white executive.”

- Read more: Hope springs for Bishopscourt land claimants

Ehrenreich described Cape Town as the “jewel in the crown of SA”, but said the levels of inequality were deepening.

“There is no social cohesion. We need to [acknowledge] there is a problem. The inequalities are there. So much wealth is still in the white sector of society.”

"Solving this started with integrating communities, he said.

"However, nothing that had been done could compare to the wrongs of apartheid, which he said was corrupt, brutal, and the worst thing to happen to the country.

“We are living in a very toxic and corrupt environment, which includes members of the ANC, but also so many others whom we haven’t even started to look at.”

He pointed out issues such as 99-year leases signed under the previous dispensation, which still benefited the wealthy.

“They still have the land. That should be the discussion,” he insisted.

“Fine, let’s criticise, but let’s also remember what has been done.”

Read more on:    cosatu  |  tony ehrenreich  |  cape town  |  politics  |  housing  |  land

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