Cape Town - The City of Cape Town council’s approval to release two parcels of land for social housing in the Salt River sites has received mixed reactions.
The Council on Thursday approved the release of the Salt River market precinct for the commencement of construction of affordable housing, which would yield 700 mixed-development units, including 216 social housing units.
It also approved the release of the Pickwick Road site, also in Salt River, which is expected to provide 600 social housing units and market residential units in an 8-storey development.
During the Council sitting, Human Settlements Mayco member Malusi Booi indicated that no objections were received on these proposals during the public participation period. He said he had met Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille for an update on these properties.
However, the ANC, EFF, PAC, Cape Coloured Congress and Al Jama-ah Party voted against this.
Booi said beneficiaries of these social housing units included public servants working in the inner city and anyone earning between R1 800 and R22 000, allowing them to be closer to the economic opportunities and transport nodes.
These sites are of the 11 land parcels that the social housing movements Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim had been calling out for speedy development of affordable housing. On July 16 the movement held a commemorative tour, commemorating five years since the City promised to release the sites.
Ndifuna Ukwazi, which applauded mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis for fast-tracking the process, said this was a welcome step towards seeing affordable housing on the site.
Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Robyn Park-Ross said the land release was an essential step to realise affordable homes on the ground. Park-Ross said the land for the Pine Road and Dillon Lane sites in Salt River was approved for release in October 2019, but to date no construction had started.
“These examples warn us that it may still be many years before we see homes on the Salt River Market site,” she said. The organisation denounced the City for labelling the occupations as illegal.
Hill-Lewis was referring to the Woodstock Hospital precinct where he said about 700 social housing units had been delayed by what he said were orchestrated building hijackings of March 2017.
Ndifuna Ukwazi said it would continue to pressure the City and Hill-Lewis to complete work on these 11 sites and fulfil their constitutional obligation around spatial redress.
The GOOD Party said Hill-Lewis repeated commitments to develop the set of sites announced for development four and five years ago.
General secretary Brett Herron said creating a just and accessible city cannot be achieved through recycling promises.
Herron said the lack of spatial integration in the city continued to hinder access to opportunities for most of the residents.
“The spatial injustice of the past remains the spatial injustice of today. For how long does the City imagine people of colour will tolerate their continued exclusion from the fabric of the inner city,” he said.
Hill-Lewis said the City was also advancing an advocacy agenda for the national government to release huge pieces of unused state land in the city. He said he had met Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille for an update on these properties.