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Social housing in Cape Town Central in limbo, say housing activists

Report says four years after the City's commitment to release and develop 11 pieces of public land in the Central area, there’s been little or no political support for affordable housing. File picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency

Report says four years after the City's commitment to release and develop 11 pieces of public land in the Central area, there’s been little or no political support for affordable housing. File picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency

Published Aug 13, 2021

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Cape Town - A report by land and housing activists shows there’s an ongoing lack of political support for affordable housing in the Cape Town Central.

Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) with Reclaim the City held a public meeting, where the research report “Spatial Justice Delayed? Understanding the Obstacles to Social and Transitional Housing in Central Cape Town”, was launched.

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The public meeting comes after four years of the City's commitment to release and develop 11 pieces of public land in Woodstock, Salt River and the inner City for social and affordable housing.

While there are signs of progress with a few projects including the Pine Road, Dillon Lane and Pickwick Road projects, many have stalled or made no apparent headway, said NU.

Out of the 11 pieces of land, only one of the projects, the Pickwick Road transitional housing project, has been completed, offering temporary housing to just 19 families.

“The state resources and planning strategies employed by the apartheid government to entrench its policy of racial and spatial segregation and economic exclusion have not been met with the requisite resources, will and action to undo the legacy of apartheid era spatial planning.

“We need to fully understand the nature of the obstacles preventing the realisation of a more just, equal city. NU’s ”Spatial Justice Delayed?“ report hopes to add to the public discourse on this question by articulating the barriers to affordable housing in well-located areas,” said NU director Mandisa Shandu.

NU researcher and report co-author Robyn Park-Ross said: “In line with the City’s original commitment, Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City wants to see affordable homes built on these sites.

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“After four years of not seeing the urgency needed in the delivery of this commitment, we intend for this public conversation and publication to support collective solutions to unblocking the barriers identified through this research.”

Mayco member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, said there was continued progress on well-located social housing with around 2 000 social housing units already in the pipeline for the Central Cape Town area.

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