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Cape Town -
Opposition parties in the Cape Town city council were less than impressed with the city’s new housing delivery draft plan – which aims to speed up delivery – saying it was an election ploy and that the DA should come up with a radical plan to wipe out informal settlements.
The issue of land and housing came up several times in council this week, with mayor Patricia de Lille saying all roleplayers in the public sector had a part to play in addressing the housing crisis.
She told council that they had been trying to lobby the national government for about 10 years to release parcels of land at Youngsfield and Wingfield for housing.
Informal settlement groups and opposition parties have also appealed to the city to strengthen its efforts to acquire the land.
De Lille said: “We have sent numerous requests over a period of about 10 years to the two national departments… Unfortunately, not every branch of government, and certainly not most of national government, regards the needs of service delivery as urgently as Cape Town.”
Council has approved a new draft framework to manage housing delivery.
It will take up to 70 years to eradicate the backlog of 375 000 houses at the current delivery rate. The city says it currently builds about 6 100 homes annually, but that it needs to deliver five times more in order to level the backlog by 2031.
The city admitted that it was not able to keep up with the growing housing demand with a 30 percent population increase.
Ganief Hendricks, from Al-Jama-ah, said: “This policy is an admittance that the DA won’t be able to solve the housing backlog. It maintains the apartheid status quo.”
He said the city’s plan should be to completely eliminate informal settlements.
ACDP councillor Ferlon Christians said: “Why is this framework only before council now in an election year and not earlier? The DA is playing politics, promising people houses.”
ANC councillor Thembinkosi Pupa said: “At last the DA realises their current model for the delivery of houses is not working. We are supporting this framework and hopefully it will bring down the backlog, but we will monitor it closely.” Mayco member for human settlements Tandeka Gqada said: “We are not playing party politics, we are facing the reality.”
De Lille wrote to President Jacob Zuma earlier this month asking him to intervene and get the land at Wingfield and Youngsfield released, but said she had not received a substantive reply.
According to a provincial report, Youngsfield is being used by the Defence Department and is therefore not pursued for human settlements.
The report looked at an erf in Bloubergstrand that can accommodate about 13 880 units, Wingfield, which can accommodate about 9 760, and an erf in Khayelitsha which could deliver 25 872 houses.