Cape Town - The availability of a prime piece of land in Tamboerskloof that could potentially solve the housing shortage facing Bo-Kaap residents has been stalled by the national Department of Public Works, which refuses to hand it over to the provincial department of human settlements.
It was revealed in a written parliamentary response to the provincial legislature that the transfer of power of attorney for land identified for housing opportunities in Bo-Kaap had been delayed by the Department of Public Works.
Asked by the standing committee on human settlements about potential properties earmarked for housing developments in Cape Town’s inner city that were owned by the national government, Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers replied: “My department has identified one property in the Bo-Kaap, namely erf 81 Tamboerskloof, for the possible development of social housing.
"The national Department of Public Works (NPW) identified erf 81, Tamboerskloof in Bo-Kaap and recommended to the national Cabinet that the property be released to the Housing Development Agency (HDA), subject to a feasibility study to be undertaken by the HDA.
"The HDA has requested a power of attorney (POA) from NPW in order to commence with the feasibility study. Due to the delay in the release of the POA, no feasibility studies have been undertaken by the HDA to date.”
Chairperson of the committee Matlhodi Maseko said she would be inviting Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille to brief the committee on a number of sites identified for housing.
“The site noted in response to my parliamentary question is erf 81 near Tamboerskloof and Bo-Kaap, a prime location within the metro, close to employment opportunities and service delivery facilities. Both the provincial and national government identified this land, but there have been setbacks due to delays in transferring POA over to the HDA from the Department of Public Works," said Maseko.
Many say the largely defunct military base in Tamboerskloof, erf 81, could alleviate the social housing problem in the city. De Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson said the erf "is … under the custodianship of the Department of Defence”.
Bo-Kaap Ratepayers and Civic Association chairperson Osman Shaboodien said: “No housing project has been built in the city since 1994 and we feel that this is an injustice, and the problem has always been political.
"All our housing issues will be solved under erf 81. There is a chronic overcrowding issue in Bo Kaap and we need to stop politicking. We are extremely angry about this and we are telling ourselves, why are they playing political football with our lives?”