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Housing activist slams the City of Cape Town over its auctions of non-core land assets

The City of Cape Town is auctioning this Newlands house on a massive 1 700m² lot next to SACS Junior School on February 10. Picture: Supplied

The City of Cape Town is auctioning this Newlands house on a massive 1 700m² lot next to SACS Junior School on February 10. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 21, 2022

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has been criticised for the resumption of its auctions of non-core land assets by a housing activist who says she is worried about how the City prioritises the possible economic value of such land parcels.

This after an announcement by the auctioneers that the first sale of the year would take place on February 10.

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Development Action Group (DAG) researcher Querida Saal said such land parcels could, and in fact should, be used to drive spatial transformation within the city.

“The City continues to assert that vacant unused land is costly and consequently hard to come by. Yet they are again auctioning off land parcels for which it is not entirely clear how the decision that these qualify as non-core had been reached,” she said.

Mayco member for Economic Growth, James Vos, said the City’s immovable properties were “another area of economic opportunity”.

He cited the approval of the sale of a site to Kwa Ace CC in Khayelitsha, which paved the way for the launch of the first luxury hotel in the area.

Among the properties up for auction at this sale is a four-bedroom heritage home on a massive 1 690m² stand in Newlands, two houses in Strand, and five vacant erven scattered across Cape Town.

The City last held a land auction in June 2021, and has contracted the same company, High Street Auctions, to run this one which will be a hybrid virtual and live property auction.

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High Street Auctions director and lead auctioneer, Joff van Reenen, said the properties were spread across the city and comprised a selection that would be of interest to business, industry, community organisations and residents, or “semi-grants” looking to buy land on which to build their dream homes.

“No matter where you live or want to live or work in Cape Town, the City of Cape Town is offering land that will work for you,” he said.

Van Reenen said the residential stands on auction ranged in size and affordability from 251m² in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain, to 3 758 m² up the road in Eastridge, while stands of 725m² were available in Claremont, and others of about 860m² were for sale in Durbanville.

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