Unused buildings like Woodstock Hospital should be revamped, say housing activists. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - The City has been urged to follow the example of Joburg which has a bold new plan to renovate 84 unused buildings for social housing, creating 11000 jobs at the same time.

Joburg is to revamp the units over the next five years by inviting the private sector to lease the assets and run them.

Thirty percent of the housing units will be allocated at no charge. The City of Joburg is also looking to partner with the private sector to help.

The City of Cape Town Council has been slammed for not doing the same.

Social housing activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi has consistently argued that the City of Cape Town Council and Western Cape Province should use public land and buildings to advance equitable access to those forcefully removed, displaced, denied or dispossessed of land and housing.

“Since 1994, there has been no affordable housing built in the Cape Town inner-city and surrounds.

“The state has a vast portfolio of under-used land and buildings yet fails to use it for the greater public good.

“The question is whether the City of Cape Town knows how much land and buildings it owns,” Ukwazi said.

Last year, the City identified run-down buildings in the greater Parow area that are attracting criminal elements to be revamped and converted into affordable housing rental units.

The City said the units would be made available to families with a household income of between R1500 and R15000 a month.

The sites identified for development were grouped into four sub-precincts, and are close to the railway stations at Parow, Tygerberg, Elsies River and Avondale.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi said there were no unused City-owned buildings in the inner city.

“Ongoing land invasions, the illegal occupation of buildings and calls by some to invade land or illegally occupy state (including national and provincial), City, or privately-owned land and buildings hold great risks for housing delivery in Cape Town.

“The City of Cape Town’s human settlements directorate is expected to deliver projects to the value of almost R2.7billion over the next three years as part of its continued efforts to improve the lives of Cape Town’s more vulnerable residents,” Booi said.

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Cape Argus