Deadline looms for comments on Western Cape’s draft housing policy
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Cape Town - Housing activist organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi has urged the Western Cape government to ensure that it’s draft inclusionary housing policy framework creates affordable homes in line with people’s actual incomes, appreciating the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inclusionary housing is a planning and land use tool that municipalities can use to oblige private developers to provide affordable housing at below market rates in new residential or mixed-use developments.
The deadline for public comments on the Western Cape’s draft policy framework, which was launched on May 14, is in a week, on July 13.
Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Robyn Park-Ross said that while the organisation welcomed the move by Province to address the spatial legacy of apartheid, they will be raising questions in their submission on who will actually benefit from the policy.
“We call on the public to make use of this important opportunity to raise their voices and send a clear message that the state should prioritise truly affordable housing.
“Twenty-seven years after the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the development of housing in the Western Cape continues to develop along apartheid lines. Segregation and exclusion are still the most persistent barriers to equality and justice in Cape Town,” said Park-Ross.
Development Action Group researcher Willard Matiashe said the idea of inclusionary housing was not new.
“I must say it is quite exciting to see provincial government and the local government making concerted efforts to create an enabling environment for the implementation of inclusionary housing as a land use planning instrument.
“We find ourselves in a space where Inclusionary housing is no longer just a new idea but rather an important land use planning and management requirement to fulfil the statutory requirements enshrined in SPLUMA legislation.
He said that in 2008 when the first draft inclusionary housing policy framework was developed, some sceptics expressed concerns on the potential for the policy to bring the private sector housing development market to its knees.
“However, the experiences from Cape Town, especially over the past few years have shown that the threat on private sector housing development market due to the lack of an inclusionary housing policy is even greater.
“There have been more than 50 high end market development projects that were subjected to costly delays because of objections based on the lack of inclusionary housing provisions,” said Matiashe.
Local Government and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the policy framework will help municipalities in the province facilitate the inclusion of more affordable housing units in developments in their municipal areas.
“This will be done in partnership with the private sector, creating more opportunities for people to live in better locations.
“Inclusionary housing requires new private developments looking for further residential or mixed-use development rights, to include housing units that are affordable for lower income members of the public, or to contribute towards affordable housing in well located areas in other ways.
“The aim is to work with the private sector to create more affordable housing opportunities in the parts of our cities and towns located close to jobs, schools, health facilities and good quality public spaces,” said Bredell.