The City has been accused of feverishly selling off prime pieces of land, ignoring calls to provide social housing within the inner city. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - The City has been accused of feverishly selling off prime pieces of land, ignoring calls to provide social housing within the inner city.

The latest property in the City’s sights is a prime piece of land in Granger Bay, located adjacent to the Cape Town Stadium,

The City’s mayco member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, said: “The City of Cape Town intends to lease the property on a long-term, 99-year leasehold basis, with an initial lease period of 40 years, and an option to renew for a further two periods of 30 and 29 years, respectively. The lease period is in keeping with market and property finance norms. 

"Leasing the site will ensure that the property generates a better economic return for the City. The City identifies properties that are either offered for sale or lease, by way of public tender or auction. This ensures that surplus properties are offered by means of a competitive process, once Council has agreed to the disposal. The possible uses of these surplus properties are varied and include residential, business and community uses,” Vos said.

“Approximately 60 properties have been sold and transferred, from July 2018 to date. The total value of transactions concluded was over R105million.”

But housing activists are fuming, accusing the City of deliberately ignoring calls to provide affordable housing in the inner city.

Housing activist Jared Rossouw said: “In fact, the City is obliged to ensure access to land for poor and working-class people on an equitable basis. It takes a twisted ideology to imagine that the Constitution ever envisioned those in power today selling or leasing our best land, to the wealthiest among us, for the highest cash price.”

He said the asset management department was stripping land ad hoc and on an unprecedented scale.

“There is no political commitment or even basic plan governing the redistribution of state land. Future generations will lament at how this particular government sold or leased our best land to corporations and the super wealthy and will wonder why Cape Town remains stubbornly segregated and unequal,” he said.

In 2016, the City issued a R100million, 25-year tender to lease the erf, adjacent to the stadium, in attempts to commercialise the precinct. The 7385m² gravelled plot, on Granger Bay Boulevard, is currently used for overflow parking .

Former mayco member for transport and urban development, now Good member, Brett Herron said there appeared to be a rapid relapse to selling off public land instead of first considering whether that public land could be used for the public good.

“These sales are taking place despite an affordable housing crisis and a failure to address the apartheid structure of our city. The disposal of the Granger Bay site must be considered in the context that, in 25 years, the city has been unable to identify a single housing project that addresses the spatial legacy of apartheid,” he said.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus