Ndifuna Ukwazi decried the lack of political support to champion affordable housing in central Cape Town. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Ndifuna Ukwazi decried the lack of political support to champion affordable housing in central Cape Town. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Spatial planning and housing are the main battlegrounds in Cape Town ahead of elections

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Oct 13, 2021

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Cape Town - With barely two-and-a-half weeks left before Capetonians elect a new council to run the City, the twin issues of spatial planning and housing have emerged as the main battleground for the campaigns.

Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF) planning and biodiversity representative David Ayres said all the major parties vying to lead the city were failures.

“You just have to look at what’s happening in Table View where they are still labouring under the pretence that they are building a transport-orientated city, yet the City can’t even run the MyCiti bus service and the government cannot run the train service.”

In a recent research report, Ndifuna Ukwazi decried the lack of political support to champion affordable housing in central Cape Town, and said not enough progress had been made in the context of Cape Town’s housing crisis.

“Only one of the 11 projects the City promised four years ago, the Pickwick Road transitional housing project that offers temporary housing to just 19 families, has been completed,” said the report.

Mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis (DA) said spatial justice was a crucial issue for him, and that was why he began his campaign by making a clear commitment to release city-owned land for faster development of more affordable accommodation for Capetonians.

“I also support the approach to densification. The city cannot keep expanding outwards forever. It must expand upwards.”

Western Cape ANC elections deputy head Nomi Nkondlo said: “Priorities which the ANC will pursue in the City include reversing apartheid spatial planning by using the former SABC building in Sea Point, Tafelberg Helen Bowden Nursing home, the Woodstock hospital and other sites for housing.”

Mayoral candidate Brett Herron (Good party) said: “What I would do differently would be to implement the logic of the Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF), which I brought to council in 2018 despite a lot of opposition.

“I would make sure our spatial planning aligns with our housing planning and our transport planning so that we have a city that’s efficient, accessible and affordable for everybody.”

Mayoral candidate Ferlon Christians (ACDP) said: “One of the things I’m looking at is getting people their dignity back. We will do more to get national, provincial and local government to put their heads together to bridge apartheid spatial planning and restore dignity.

“There’s a lot to do but there must be the political will to restore dignity,” said Christians.

Al Jamah-ah Mayoral candidate Ganief Hendricks, who once served on the City’s appeals committee which mainly dealt with spatial planning issues, said the problem was not with the City’s policy, but with the residents in what he called “white areas” who always appeal developments that would bring densification.

He said his mission as mayor would be to fast track densification of these areas in an effort to have an integrated city.

Meanwhile following a call earlier in the year to residents and interested parties to register as stakeholders for the upcoming review of the MSDF, to date only 136 people have registered via the City’s online platform.

The public were asked to register between September 1 and the October 31 deadline.

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the past five years had taught the City that people did not fully comprehend what the MSDF was and what role it played within the City of Cape Town and Cape Town in general.

“Learning from this we are making a special effort for the document to be easy to engage with and understand.

“We are also working on an awareness campaign and councillor training on the role of the MSDF, its relation to the Integrated Development Plan and what it means for communities,” said Nieuwoudt.

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