Cape Town - Reclaim the City and the NGO Ndifuna Ukwazi have denied the City’s claims that they are an obstacle to the building of social housing in Cape Town and instead accused the City of not wanting to provide affordable housing in and near urban centres.
In a statement, the two organisations said: “Poor and working class families, who are predominantly black and coloured, continue to experience an apartheid city, where access to land is reserved for a few and the local authority’s inability to address the deepening crisis of spatial inequality preserves the segregationist status quo.”
In January, the City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “The toxic legacy of Ndifuna Ukwazi’s ‘Reclaim The City’ campaign is one of the biggest obstacles to the building of social housing on two well-located sites in urban centres of the metro that are both suitable and viable.”
Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Michael Clark said: “Not only is this claim absurd and untrue, it is a direct attempt to blame-shift and obfuscate.”
Clark said: “Reclaim the City’s Cissie Gool (Woodstock Hospital) and Ahmed Kathrada Houses reveal an opportunity as well as a need.”
“These occupations present an opportunity to seriously review and redevelop vacant, derelict and underutilised buildings and spaces in the city, particularly central Cape Town and surrounds, for social benefit through the provision of community-led housing opportunities,” said Clark.
“Such redevelopment would address the need by many in these areas facing displacement or prohibitively high barriers to accessing housing close to employment and amenities,” said Clark.
“The alternative accommodation that the City has offered to people at risk of homelessness has been in Transitional Relocation Areas (TRAs) that are predominantly at capacity with a current waiting period of around 4 months before one can access shelter in these often far-removed areas.
“To this end, many law-abiding residents have been waiting patiently on the waiting lists, with some dying before ever accessing a dignified home,” said Clark.
Booi said on Tuesday that Reclaim the City and Ndifuna Ukwazi’s occupation of Woodstock Hospital since March 2017 was “unlawful”.
Booi said: “It is hoped that the current illegal occupants that took occupation under Ndifuna Ukwazi’s and Reclaim The City’s co-ordinated unlawful occupation campaign, will move from the property voluntarily, because social housing development is not possible unless all illegal occupants vacate the site.”
Booi said: “If needs be, the City will pursue eviction proceedings, subject to lockdown regulations, and all due process will be followed.”