Cheap City of Cape Town leases irk housing activists
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is still renting out prime real estate for a song to the well-heeled, through their organisations and clubs.
Rondebosch Golf Club intends to be leased, by the City, for a mere R1000 and now the Glen Green Point Sport and Recreation Club with the Western Cape Bridge Union Club on the disputed Green Point Bowling Green, will also be rented out for a paltry sum.
The City recommended a rental of R1 058 a year including 15% VAT be paid and that the lease will be for a period of two years and 11 months.
Two objections were received for the proposal from social housing pressure group Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City. They want the land to be used for affordable housing.
The Green Point Bowling Green comprises 27000m2 of public land including bowling greens, vacant fenced off land, and two clubhouses that are leased to the Glen Green Sports Centre.
According to Ndifuna Ukwazi there are no constraints to developing the site. The land could yield 10 storeys mixed-use, mixed-income, residential led with retail on the ground floor. And could generate between R18.6million and R24min new rates annually .
In March, Ndifuna Ukwazi did a feasibility study on prime land within the CBD leased to various entities that they say could be used for affordable housing.
The report, titled “City Leases”, cites Cape Town’s failure to redistribute land. It contains proposals for five areas that could be used.
These include the Rondebosch Golf Club, the Buitengracht Corridor, Harrington Square, and the Green Point and Fish Hoek bowling greens.
It also identifies 24 golf courses in the city, with 10 located on public land. The organisation said golf courses and bowling greens faced declining membership, yet every year the City continues to renew their leases.
Researcher at Ndifuna Ukwazi Michael Clark said the land in Green Point is heavily under utilised.
“Ndifuna Ukwazi is deeply concerned that the City plans to go ahead with leasing this well-located public land in spite of objections to the lease and commitments to develop the site for affordable housing.
“Leasing prime public land to exclusive sporting and recreational facilities for nominal amounts fails to recognise the important social role this land could play, if correctly developed, to reverse the City’s apartheid legacy through the provision of affordable housing.
“Leasing the land to these facilities is prioritising the enjoyment of a few over the needs of the many. The City’s progress in delivering well-located affordable housing at the site has been glacial.
“A significant amount of money has been spent on consultants and feasibility studies to investigate the development, and yet the City has absolutely nothing to show for it.”
Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said: “The legislative planning and development regime must be used to guide any proposed land use and development options.
“Therefore each piece of land must be considered within the policy and legislation that exist and this will also speak to the suitability and nature of the land in question.
“The City has illustrated its commitment to affordable housing on well-located and suitable pieces of land in and near urban centres,” said