Tafelberg site not for affordable housing – WCape govt

2017-03-22 21:19
Reclaim the City supporters protest in April 2016 against the sale of Tafelberg. (Naib Mian, GroundUp)

Reclaim the City supporters protest in April 2016 against the sale of Tafelberg. (Naib Mian, GroundUp)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape provincial government on Wednesday approved the sale of its Tafelberg property in Sea Point, defying public calls for the property to be redeveloped for low-income housing.

"On the basis of what was presented to cabinet, cabinet resolved that the Tafelberg site is not ideally suited to affordable housing," it said in a statement.

The income from the sale of the site would be used to complete the upgrade of the provincial government building in Dorp Street. The sale of the site to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day school for R135m would now proceed.

A contributing factor was that the site would not receive a state subsidy because it was not a Restructuring Zone.

According to the Social Housing Act of 2008, the national human settlements minister designates a Restructuring Zone following identification by a municipality.

"Without this declaration, the relevant national subsidy cannot legally be provided for the building of social housing units, and a financial model would need to be developed for viable social housing in the absence of a government subsidy," the cabinet said.

Restructuring Zone

However, in an opinion piece published on GroundUp on Monday, Hopolang Selebalo and Emile Engel of non-profit Ndifuna Ukwazi, said the CBD and surrounds were demarcated Restructuring Zones. This included Sea Point.

"Some may argue, absurdly, that Sea Point is not part of the CBD and Surrounds. This is not a barrier. Mayor [Patricia] De Lille and Minister [Bonginkosi] Madikizela have the power to simply declare it a Restructuring Zone, a relatively menial administrative task," Selebalo and Engel said.

The provincial cabinet proposed instead that the Helen Bowden Nurses Home in Sea Point be redeveloped as low-income housing as it did not face legal challenges from surrounding property owners.

The property also fell outside the current Restructuring Zone.

A financial scheme would be developed without state subsidy, which might be feasible due to the size of the property, the cabinet said.

The province was pursuing the development of "well-located" properties in Woodstock, Pinelands, and Belhar. In Pinelands, it planned to provide 3 500 residential "opportunities" on 22ha of land.

In the Belhar CBD, roughly 22km from the Cape Town CBD, the province planned to construct 3 000 residential units near education facilities such as the University of the Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

'Robust response'

Reclaim the City, a subsidiary of Ndifuna Ukwazi, said the province's action was "an insult to black and coloured working class people".

"They have laid bare their intention to capitalise from our public assets at all costs, in the face of considerable public opposition," it said in a statement.

"We are planning a robust response, after consultation with our lawyers, housing experts and our supporters."

The Western Cape African National Congress would call on the provincial standing committee on transport and public works to launch an inquiry into the sale.

"We will also be laying a complaint with the Public Protector and requesting her office to launch a full investigation into this matter," ANC MPL Cameron Dugmore said in a statement.

Read more on:    anc  |  cape town  |  housing

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