Western Cape govt drawn into affordable housing battle

2016-04-14 16:03
The Tafelberg property site in Sea Point which forms part of a court battle between workers and the Western Cape government (taken from the City of Cape Town's map viewer)

The Tafelberg property site in Sea Point which forms part of a court battle between workers and the Western Cape government (taken from the City of Cape Town's map viewer)

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Cape Town – In a battle for affordable housing in central Cape Town, the Western Cape government is being taken to court to halt the transfer of a school site in Sea Point.

The applicants, who include workers living in Sea Point, want an urgent interim interdict to halt the transfer of state land to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School.

Tafelberg Remedial High School used to be on the site.

The Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre filed papers in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

This was on behalf of Thozama Adonisi, Phumza Ntutela, Sharone Daniels, Bianca Sossen, Athenkosi Nkampule and the Reclaim the City campaign.

Part of the request was for Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant to give written reasons within 30 days for the decision to sell the Tafelberg property.

The applicants wanted the court to review and set aside the provincial government’s decision.

"We will be arguing that the province has failed to honour its obligations to use well-located public land for the development of affordable housing," Reclaim the City said in a statement.

"The Tafelberg School site occupies a whole city block. Experts have confirmed that the site is ideally suited for the development of affordable housing in the inner city."

The respondents include Grant, the premier of the Western Cape, the day school and its trustees, the City of Cape Town, the national minister of rural development and land reform, and the national and provincial human settlements ministers.

Land use

The founding papers for the interdict include a March 2013 letter from the head of the provincial human settlements department to the provincial transport and public works department.

In it, the department asked that the land be used for affordable rental housing. 

The notice to dispose of the property was advertised in December.

In a letter included in the founding papers from February 19 this year, Grant said no representations on the disposal were received.

He said the province gave due consideration to the use of land by other departments and social development initiatives.

The applicants claimed the province had breached the law on disposing of public land.

"In order to sell the land, it must be declared surplus, and in order to do this it should not be needed for service delivery objectives," Reclaim the City said.

Grant denied in the letter that they had breached any policies pertaining to immovable assets or spatial development.

A date for the interdict hearing had yet to be announced. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing

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