Department confirms delay in release of Sea Point affordable housing report

2016-11-16 14:11

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Cape Town - The feasibility study on the construction of affordable housing at a controversial Sea Point site is expected to be released by next week following a delay in the finalisation of the document, the provincial public works department said on Wednesday.

This after activists from the organisation Reclaim the City on Tuesday staged a sit-in at the department's offices in Dorp Street, which at one stage was interrupted by police officers, demanding the release of the study which they said they were promised would be handed to them by last Friday.

On Wednesday they promised to return in their numbers if the document was not released.

Provincial public works department spokesperson Byron La Hoe said internal challenges resulted in the delay in the release of the report, which had been compiled by an external agency.

He explained the in-depth study on the Tafelberg Remedial School site, which includes time lines, was still in the process of being translated, but was expected to be available by next Tuesday.

The 1.7 hectare erf belonged to the provincial government.

Public participation

The Western Cape department of transport and public works sold Tafelberg to a private entity in late 2015.

"[This] in spite of a request from Western Cape department of human settlements that it be reserved for affordable housing, and a government supported feasibility study which concluded that the site was suitable for a social housing development of up to 341 affordable residential units," Reclaim the City said on its website.

In May the matter reached a turning point when the Western Cape High Court ordered that the sale of the site to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School for R135m be halted and that the provincial government open a public participation process.

On July 29 the provincial cabinet asked for a new feasibility study on the use of the site for social housing.

This was to have been concluded by November 11.

Reclaim the City on Wednesday said they resorted to the sit-in at the provincial government officers after they were made to wait for two hours to see a department director to give them answers, explaining why the handover of the report was being delayed.

Apology for lack of communication

Spokesperson Elizabeth Gqoboka said after closing off the reception desk to try and force the official into giving them feedback, they were told he was not in the building.

About a dozen of the organisation's activists then blocked the entrance, barring anyone form coming in or going out.

The group eventually dispersed after police were called to the scene and threatened them with arrest.

La Hoe said he did not know why the official refused to address the group, and apologised for not communicating with them.

He confirmed that once the notice relating to the property was published, the public would be allowed to comment on the proposed financial model.

The official, who the Reclaim the City activists waited to hear from on Tuesday, was not immediately available for comment.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing

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