A group of approximately 40 people converged outside the SABC property, in May where they occupied the Rockland Villas flats behind the SABC building. Rockland Villas has been standing vacant for over 20 years. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
A group of approximately 40 people converged outside the SABC property, in May where they occupied the Rockland Villas flats behind the SABC building. Rockland Villas has been standing vacant for over 20 years. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Human Settlements Department earmarks SABC’s Rockland Villas in Sea Point for affordable housing

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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Cape Town - The Department of Human Settlement’s Housing Development Agency (HDA) said it was proceeding with the acquisition of the Rockland Villas property in Sea Point after an agreement was reached with the SABC.

The SABC intended to auction the building on Thursday to private developers after receiving a go-ahead from the Western Cape High Court earlier this month.

In May the High Court had issued an urgent interdict to the HDA and Department of Human Settlements which resulted in a last-minute cancellation of the auction.

SABC group executive of corporate affairs and marketing Gugu Ntuli confirmed that the SABC had accepted an offer from the HDA and the planned auction was cancelled.

Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu said the department has taken advantage of processes of land redistribution to request that all urban state land should be released for social housing, allowing working people to live near their place of work.

“We remain committed to redress the pre-1994 spatial segregation by ensuring that we acquire strategic land parcels for human settlements development. The building we have acquired from the SABC will make it possible for us to respond to the housing needs of our people in the City of Cape Town,” said Sisulu.

The affordable social housing is expected to be for people earning between  R1 500 and R15 000 a month.

ANC leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore, said this victory was a further step in the struggle for housing, security and comfort as contained in the Freedom Charter.

“At last there is security of tenure for all those domestic workers and general workers who have campaigned for over 20 years to ensure that affordable inner city housing is built at the Rocklands site, Tafelberg School and other municipal land in Sea Point, and CBDs across the province,” said Dugmore.

Ndifuna Ukwazi organiser Buhle Booi said there was now hope that affordable housing would see the light of day in Sea Point. Booi said Ndifuna Ukwazi had always maintained that public land and buildings were key to advancing spatial justice.

“We fundamentally believe that in the middle of the housing crisis the SABC, as a state-owned enterprise (SOE), should have consulted with relevant state organs to dispose of the public building so that the SOE asset can be utilised for its social value, rather than their first option being to auction off public assets to private entities,” said Booi.

Booi said they were elated that the SABC had “come back to their senses” and accepted the offer, which he said was something the SABC should have prioritised before announcing a public auction.

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Cape Argus

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