City of Cape Town land lease policy in the spotlight after request for comment advert
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Cape Town - There is continued outrage over the City’s policy of leasing valuable public-owned land to private organisations for a song over a long period.
Now dealing with ongoing long-term leases over publicly owned land to private organisations for their exclusive use has come under the spotlight.
Political parties and civil society organisations reacted after an advert in the Cape Argus invited objections, comments and/or alternative proposals over the issue of continuing its lease of 30 594 square metres of public land in Durbanville for R1 145 a year to the Durbanville Bellville Rugby Club for the next 10 years.
Good Party mayoral candidate Brett Herron said: “Community facilities are a very important part of every community. Sports and recreation builds communities, creates space and opportunities for constructive and positive activity.
“There is nothing wrong with Durbanville having a sports facility. The question is whether the facility is a community facility available for all to enjoy or whether it’s being used as a private club or for commercial activity. How the facility is being used should inform how the lease is structured and quantified.
“This club and its lease arrangements should not be an exclusive arrangement that is not available in other communities,” said Herron.
He said the Good Party would like to see parity of infrastructure and facilities across all communities and some communities were definitely still left behind.
Ndifuna Ukwazi research and advocacy head Michael Clark said that in the context of a profound affordable housing and segregation crisis the City’s move was short-sighted.
“The ongoing conclusion of long-term leases over publicly owned land to private organisations for their exclusive use is indicative of the City’s myopic approach to the value of public land and it’s failure to prioritise public land to advance urban land justice through the delivery of affordable housing
“While we accept that not every parcel of land will be suitable for affordable housing, the City is required to scrutinise and assess the transformative potential of each piece of land it owns.
“We are also concerned that the ongoing renewal of long-term leases without close scrutiny by the City is indicative of an uncoordinated, ad hoc approach to public land management by the City.
ANC City caucus spokesperson Fiona Abrahams said: “In Cape Town, life for the privileged section of society that regularly votes DA gets better all the time.
“The privileges and perks that apartheid gave them are still there and theirs alone to enjoy with the latest act of DA largesse or political reward a prime example.
“Yet, life for the black majority is a tale of hardship, no or very little service delivery, high crime, joblessness and the reality of living in an uncaring city. The Cape Town story really is a tale of two cities: a thriving one for the wealthy that support the DA and a miserable one for the poor majority.”