- Public works minister Patricia de Lille has lashed out at the DA's mayoral candidate for Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis.
- Hill-Lewis requested that De Lille's office release the Acacia Park parliamentary village for affordable housing.
- Hill-Lewis said De Lille showed little sympathy or understanding of the pressing need for housing.
Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille's bitter battle with her former party, the DA, is seemingly far from over.
In the most recent salvo, De Lille branded the DA's Cape Town mayoral hopeful Geordin Hill-Lewis "stupid" after he requested that her office release the Acacia Park parliamentary village for affordable housing.
Speaking to News24 while on a campaign trail for her party GOOD in Mitchells Plain at the weekend, De Lille said it was not possible for her office to release the homes in the parliamentary village.
A frustrated De Lille exclaimed:
"He must know that all Members of Parliament, all the benefits that Members of Parliament get, it's not decided by me, it's decided by a judge. It's a judge that looks at all the benefits for Members of Parliament. Currently, part of those benefits of all Members of Parliament is that the state must provide them with housing in the City of Cape Town for Parliament. Those villages have been there for years since the National Party; why didn't he ask the National Party also to release," she said.
De Lille further ripped into Hill-Lewis. "Its a joke. I don't take it seriously because he doesn't know how government works."
Last week, Hill-Lewis said the villages that housed MPs could completely transform the housing landscape in Cape Town.
Acacia Park contains hundreds of houses and apartments, as well as infrastructure like a school, swimming pool, sports fields, parks and a community hall. It also has its own train station, is located adjacent to the N1 and N7, and lies within 10 kilometres of major shopping and business districts.
The Department of Public Works had forked out millions on maintenance at Acacia Park. January 2018 and November 2020, R74 million was spent over the period and, on average, around R2 million was spent on the facilities per month.
Hill-Lewis said in a statement on Friday that Acacia Park was a 568 000 square meter symbol for how De Lille and her ANC colleagues were holding back housing development in Cape Town.
"That is why I have today written to De Lille, requesting her department to immediately terminate its lease over Acacia Park so that the City of Cape Town can undertake negotiations to buy the site from its owners, after which the land must be released to the private sector to build hundreds of affordable housing units," he said.
In response to De Lille's comments, Hill-Lewis said she showed little sympathy or understanding of the pressing need for housing in Cape Town.
"The outburst of petty insults from De Lille, will not deter my commitment to fight for more affordable housing for Capetonians through the release of large tracts of government land," he said.
"By dismissing the needs of the same City she once served as mayor, it is clear that De Lille has become nothing but an agent implementing this same cruel and vindictive ANC policy towards the people of Cape Town."
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