Ndifuna Ukwazi is planning to take the city to court for a review or setting aside the city’s approval of a 39-storey mixed-use development known as "The Vogue". Picture: Artist rendering/Supplied
Cape Town - Social housing lobby group Ndifuna Ukwazi is planning to take the city to court for a review or setting aside the city’s approval of a 39-storey mixed-use development at 7 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, known as “The Vogue”.

Ndifuna Ukwazi attorney Jonty Cogger said: “Cape Town is experiencing a housing affordability crisis. Poorer residents spend up to 40% of the household’s income travelling long distances into the city.

“The city has the power and obligation to promote affordable housing in private development that can bring poor and working-class residents back into the city - close to employment opportunities, better health care, schools and other social amenities.

“Despite this, the city has refused to set affordable housing conditions in private developments that would allow poor and working-class people to live closer to their work.”

The R1.4billion The Vogue building project is poised to create about 9000 direct and indirect jobs, according to developer FWJK. But the approval is being challenged by Ndifuna Ukwazi, which has objected to the absence of affordable housing in the project plans.

In September 2017, the organisation objected to this development on the grounds that it is unaffordable to approximately 90% of residents, “most of which are poor and/or working-class residents”. Ndifuna Ukwazi has also objected to numerous recent developments in the hope of forcing the city to finalise an affordable housing policy.

“Our objection to The Vogue forms part of a larger strategy that has sought to compel the city to impose conditions of affordable housing in private developments as a means to realise its constitutional and statutory obligation to redress inequitable access to urban land,” Cogger said.

He said in August 2018, the city committed to drafting an inclusionary housing policy which would increase the number of residential units in the inner city and other well-located areas for families earning between R3500 and R18000 a month.

“If adopted, inclusionary housing presents an opportunity to redirect private property wealth towards social purposes. It aims to ensure that there is an adequate supply of land and housing for lower-income households, to decrease segregation and enhance social inclusion,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the city was in the process of developing an inclusionary housing policy.

“Background feasibility work and other analysis is being done, after which a draft policy will be compiled for public comment. Key stakeholders are being consulted,” Booi said.

The city’s spokesperson, Luthando Tyhalibongo, said they had not received notice of a review application.

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Cape Argus