Housing group says City of Cape Town’s property auction is wasteful, short-sighted

Durbanville site on auction. Picture: Supplied

Durbanville site on auction. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 20, 2023


Cape Town - Housing group Ndifuna Ukwazi has objected to the City’s plans to auction 32 prime non-core properties as wasteful and short-sighted.

However, the City says the auction is part of its mission to see how it can fast-track the release of land across the Metro with suitable zoning ranging from commercial to residential.

The auction will take place at the DHL Stadium in Green Point next Thursday, June 29.

It targets houses and development sites across the peninsula from Muizenberg through to Grassy Park, Tafelsig, Strandfontein, Khayelitsha and across to Strand, Goodwood and Durbanville.

The council properties on auction include four suburban houses and a development site with dual zoning of Community Zone 2 and Transport Zone 2.

The High Street Auctions firm will sell the properties on behalf of the City.

Residential stand on auction in Dartmouth Road Muizenberg. Picture: supplied

Auctions director Greg Dart said bidder registrations for City auctions have traditionally been high, but buyer interest in the lots under the hammer this month are “exceeding all expectations”.

Dart said: “There’s immense appetite for City of Cape Town development land, because there simply isn’t enough space for the city to grow, given the number of people migrating to Cape Town.”

Associate director Shawn van Jaarsveld said dozens of interested buyers have made contact regarding the residential plots in Khayelitsha and the community development sites in Grassy Park, Bridgetown and Kewtown.

“People want to build near their families, and so many registered NPOs in the area desperately need space to develop community service facilities.

“This auction is the ideal place for them to acquire that land and further help to uplift their communities.”

Gardens House on auction. Picture: supplied

Newlands city of Cape Town House on auction. Picture: supplied

Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Nick Budlender said: “Selling public land to the highest bidder is wasteful, shortsighted. It is ultimately an unsustainable and ineffective way of raising municipal finance.”

Budlender said once land was sold it was gone forever and neither the government nor future generations of residents would have any say in how the land was developed to meet their needs.

“We find it especially problematic that the City is selling 19000m² of developable land in Khayelitsha despite the major housing crisis affecting residents of the area.”

However, acting Mayco member for Human Settlements James Vos said the sites going to auction must not be confused with land parcels the City is making available for affordable housing developments.

“When it comes to the auction, these properties are not required for municipal purposes and will therefore serve the private sector for development opportunities bringing much needed revenues and resources.”

Vos said he was working closely with the Human Settlements and Property Management departments to prepare properties for disposal and development for affordable housing schemes.

“The City must not become a land bank, rather we should use our land as a means to stimulate economic opportunities through construction jobs, business development, and housing schemes,” Vos said.

ANC Councillor Banele Majingo said: “The City's prioritisation of ownership of land by private entities and developers for profit gain to us is an obstacle that impedes the land redistribution.”

Majingo said the City’s attitude to land matters was behind the housing backlog which then forced the landless and homeless poor to invade land parcels.

“If the City is indeed willing to address the land management issues, they should review their stance of putting pieces of land on auction by public participation as they become available, this approach excludes poor people.

“There should be a balance, we can't accept the commercialisation of the land question.”

The properties can be viewed here: https://www.highstreetauctions.com/auctions-high-street-auctions.php?kw=f894b70cdd7c5ee54ff82311fb19a251

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