DA member and City of Cape Town mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
DA member and City of Cape Town mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Affordable housing issue turns into political football between Hill-Lewis, De Lille

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Sep 23, 2021

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Cape Town - Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille, the Good Party leader, and the DA's Cape Town mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis are still crossing swords over the release of state-owned land for affordable housing in the city.

Hill-Lewis wrote to De Lille last week, requesting that she cancel the lease on the Acacia Park parliamentary village so that the City could buy the land and release it for the development of affordable housing.

Hill-Lewis, along with DA activists, picketed outside the Department of Public Works offices on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum of demands.

Hill-Lewis said the City has been faced with a worsening housing shortage due to the consistent refusal by the national government to sell, terminate lease agreements or otherwise release land it owns or leased for housing development in the city.

He said successive administrations including the one previously led by De Lille have pleaded for the national government to release the well-located mega-properties it owns in Cape Town.

De Lille said the housing crisis in Cape Town, and across the country, was real and it should not be diminished to a political football game.

She said the Western Cape Government has at least 450 vacant parcels of land all over Cape Town and in other parts of the province that could be released for well-located affordable housing for the people.

“Hill-Lewis should start with what the City and Western Cape Government can release from their asset registers for well-located affordable housing,” said De Lille.

EFF provincial secretary Banzi Dambuza said it was the same DA that had been selling land like nobody's business, and that it could not build affordable houses for the people.

Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron said he was disgusted by the hypocrisy and by the hijacking of such a serious issue to create a political circus.

Herron said the so-called “call” was immature and contrived. It carefully avoided the use of public land in the custody of the City – ready for affordable housing projects –which they released in 2017 and which were immediately cancelled by the DA after they resigned and sought out land that they thought they could label “De Lille”.

“If you understand the pain and desperation so many hundreds of thousands of people live with because of inadequate or no housing you would take the issue more seriously,” said Herron.

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Cape Argus

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