The acrimonious relationship between Patricia de Lille and the DA is spilling over into her new job as Minister of Public Works. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - The acrimonious relationship between Patricia de Lille and the DA is spilling over into her new job as Minister of Public Works - seemingly to the detriment of Cape Town residents hungry for social housing.

In a war of words that erupted on Twitter, De Lille called DA MP Emma Powell “a blue liar” after James Brent Styan, spokesperson for Local Government MEC Anton Bredell, tweeted Powell’s statement: “De Lille’s refusal to engage either the Western Cape provincial government or the City of Cape Town on the release of this land is ironic, given that when she was mayor of Cape Town she repeatedly called for it to be released for low-cost housing.”

Powell, DA spokesperson for water, sanitation and human settlements, wrote to De Lille in September requesting clarity on whether her department intended on releasing six large tracts of land under her department's custodianship for housing.

These land parcels, which include Ysterplaat, Denel, Culemborg, Youngsfield, Wingfield and Upper Darling Street, could yield in excess of 93 000 affordable housing opportunities for low-income Cape Town residents.

In response, De Lille said: “There are no plans for now for the properties mentioned. The release of land for reform and redistribution and human settlements is guided by government programmes and follows due processes.

"It is the duty of national, provincial and local government to deal with apartheid spatial planning and provide affordable housing opportunities close to work opportunities.

"The City of Cape Town has cancelled the release of land for human settlements in the following areas: Woodstock, Salt River, Cape Town city centre, Green Point, Parow and Claremont.”

Powell told the Cape Argus that De Lille’s notion was completely incorrect and “the minister should know better”.

“In truth, the City of Cape Town has recently completed over 2168 social and gap housing units in Steenberg, Brooklyn, Bothasig, Scottsdene and opposite UWC in Belhar. The cancellation was for the procurement process/method and not the projects. The projects are going ahead as planned,” she said.

“De Lille’s refusal to engage either the Western Cape Provincial Government or the City of Cape Town on the release of these land parcels is enormously ironic, given that when she was mayor of Cape Town she repeatedly called for them to be released for low-cost housing.”

De Lille in 2014 wrote a letter to then-president Jacob Zuma about the release of land belonging to Public Works and the SANDF for housing purposes.

Reclaim the City’s Deena Bosch said: “We hope that the animosity between De Lille and the DA does not interfere with the supply of public housing. A power struggle should not come at the expense of the needs of the people.”

De Lille told the Cape Argus that the days of the DA controlling her were over.

“If you look at my response, that is why I called her a blue liar on Twitter. I didn’t say there’s no plans, I am only four months in the job and they want to control what I do and those days are long over. They almost want to project that there is an urgent need but the City has land.”

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus