Cape Town - Social justice NGO Ndifuna Ukwazi has responded to remarks made by Premier Alan Winde during his state of the province address, in which he attacked the occupation of the Helen Bowden Nurses' Home in Green Point, calling it “Illegal, immoral and corrupt”.
Ndifuna Ukwazi spokesperson Kyla Hazell said: “We note with concern that instead of embracing the nuance and imagination necessary to realise dignified housing solutions in partnership with communities, Premier Winde has sustained the party line of vilifying occupiers in his Sopa address.
“Blaming the lack of affordable housing delivery in Cape Town's well-located neighbourhoods on those living in the old Helen Bowden Nurses Home is disingenuous and divisive.
“Many of the residents there have struggled for years to secure decent homes for workers in Sea Point, confronting successive disappointments and dead ends. These are the nurses, caretakers, cleaners, security guards and store workers who would benefit from state-subsidised housing delivery in this area, if only it were built,” said Hazell.
“There must be an end to the false dichotomy between law-abiding citizens and those whose situations resulted in a decision to occupy instead of waiting patiently for decades more. Where Winde sees immoral or corrupt land invaders, we know people trying to survive in an increasingly unequal society,” said Hazell.
“Rather than accepting the urgency of that order, which rules that spatial apartheid has not been addressed in the city of Cape Town and orders that plans be presented as to how this damaging legacy will be reversed moving forward, Premier Winde's government is appealing the decision. How is this the action of a state genuinely poised to provide for the poor in one of its premier suburbs?”
Meanwhile, the City’s Mayco member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, said: “Ndifuna Ukwazi's unlawful occupation campaign has stalled social housing development at both the City-owned Woodstock Hospital site and the Helen Bowden property near the V&A Waterfront, owned by the province.
“The City plans to build around 700 social housing units at Woodstock Hospital. It is of top priority as one of our biggest projects in the area. It is hoped that the Ndifuna Ukwazi-enabled occupants will move from the property voluntarily.
“The City is currently applying for a court-ordered survey to determine the number of illegal occupants, their identities, monthly income, eligibility for state-subsidised housing, and willingness to vacate the property so that social housing plans are not further delayed,” said Booi.