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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Call for development of 11 sites for social and affordable housing to be sped up

The commemoration walk started with a visit to the Woodstock Hospital Park, which is part of the 11 sites. Picture: Supplied

The commemoration walk started with a visit to the Woodstock Hospital Park, which is part of the 11 sites. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 18, 2022

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s portfolio committee on human settlements is expected to recommend to the council the handover of the Salt River Market for construction this week.

Coincidentally, it will occur after Reclaim the City, alongside Ndifuna Ukwazi, held a commemorative walk at the weekend to protest against the City’s failed promise to develop social and affordable housing in the inner city.

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Reclaim the City media officer Karen Hendricks said today marked five years since the City promised affordable housing in Woodstock, Salt River and the inner city.

She said the intention of the walk was to reapply pressure on the City to meet its constitutionally mandated obligation to address spatial apartheid by advancing access to land and adequate housing in well-located areas.

The activists and occupants visited three of the 11 sites, including Victoria Park in the precinct of Cissie Gool House, Dillon Lane, where they said the construction of 150 to165 affordable housing units was possible. They also visited the Pine Road site to check the progress.

“The empty plots and promises have been our campaign for the past five years for these empty pieces of land that were earmarked for the development of affordable housing. To date, there has been no progress on some sites, while some have been slow, particularly from the City side, which has no will to develop them,” Hendricks said.

She said only the Pickwick Road transitional housing project had been completed and offered temporary housing to 19 families.

“The City has a housing backlog of more than 600 000 people. Covid-19 exposed not just a housing crisis, but caused an affordability crisis as many people lost their income and failed to pay rent, further growing the housing backlog by the day,” Hendricks said.

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GOOD Party general secretary Brett Herron, who joined the walk, said despite the consistent complaints about the availability of land on which to develop affordable housing, five sites identified by the provincial government in 2011, and the 11 sites in 2017, proved there was no land problem, there was a leadership problem.

Hendricks said the City needed to engage with social movements and occupiers who had been fighting for well-allocated, affordable housing.

Herron said apartheid spatial planning remained one of the challenges in the city, and the lack of spatial integration continued to hinder access to opportunities for most residents.

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The City said the orchestrated building hi-jackings of March 2017 by Ndifuna Ukwazi, under the Reclaim the City banner, had delayed flagship social housing projects in central Cape Town.

It said it had more than 6 500 social housing units in the overall pipeline across 50 land parcels citywide, including 2 000 social housing units in the central Cape Town area.

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