Cape Town - Hot on the heels of the Salt River Market site debacle, former mayco member for Transport and Urban Development Brett Herron has dropped another bombshell on how the City blocked another social housing project on a prime piece of land in Green Point.
It recently emerged that the piece of land identified for social housing has not been used by the City.
“The Green Point recreation site has been identified for another mixed-use, mixed-income development, including affordable housing.
“There is a fantastic development scheme that is in the planning stage for this site. However, that cabal is blocking the progress of that project, too,” said Herron, referring to a group within the DA that is opposed to social housing in or near the inner city.
“They have told the officials, and other politicians, that it is too close to the election to proceed with the project.
“I find this quite shocking - especially given their policy and manifesto promises to integrate communities. It raises a question for me as to how they perceive a DA voter?” he said.
“No one has been able to provide an accurate value for the land because it was not properly zoned. If it was zoned for mixed use, the value of the land would be much higher. But the size of the land is three times larger than the Salt River market site, at about four full-size soccer fields.”
Social housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi wrote a letter to deputy mayor Ian Neilson in May this year, motivating that the land be used for social housing.
“We understand erf 2187 (in Green Point ) to be very well placed to accommodate a mix of transitional, social and affordable housing for residents who are excluded from the housing and rental market in the area, even including a proportion of market units to ensure feasibility,” the letter stated.
Neilson then responded: “It is our intention to have a mixed-use development which includes affordable housing and will be informed by the outcome of the required statutory processes and the most feasible modelling to ensure a successful development.”
Six months later and the land is still sitting vacant. In May, Herron confirmed that a new affordable housing project had been planned for the Green Point land.
Researcher at Ndifuna Ukwazi Nick Budlender said: “Ian Neilson admitted that the City changed its plans to develop the Green Point Bowling Green site into a mixed-use development which would now include affordable housing.
“We would expect selfish, wealthy residents who live nearby to oppose it, but in fact it is the City which lacks the vision and political will to drive this project forward. When it comes to affordable housing in former ‘whites-only’ areas, ground is never broken. This is unacceptable in a housing and segregation crisis.”
Herron’s replacement Felicity Purchase, in a letter to Ndifuna Ukwazi, wrote: “The intention is to have a mixed-use development which will include affordable housing. The development will be informed by the outcome of the required statutory processes.”