Cape Town - Land and housing activists held a mock auction dubbed “The People’s Auction”, bidding off some of the City’s best-known buildings for a greater social good outside Cape Town Stadium on Thursday as the City’s auction of several land sites got under way.
The Housing Assembly, Reclaim the City, Singabalapha, Intlungu Yase Matyhotyhombeni, Ndifuna Ukwazi and community members gathered outside the stadium in protest against the auctioning of 14 city properties against a backdrop of a huge need for housing.
Reclaim the City leader Karen Hendricks said they were there to disrupt the auction and to draw attention to City land being sold to private developers in the midst of a housing crisis.
“There are no public participation processes for communities to engage with the City around access to these pieces of land, whether it be for housing or cultural or recreational purposes, but instead these properties were being sold to private developers.
That too displaces people, because the moment properties or land is sold toprivate developers, people are automatically pushed out of the areas and rent is hiked,” Hendricks said.
“Communities are always the last to know about these pieces of land being sold off and also to know about development, etc, and yet we are the impacted and affected people.”
Housing Assembly member and Khayelitsha resident Stephen Maciko said land and housing groups should be included in discussions on whether or not a site is viable for housing development.
“We have been living in informal settlements for 30 years, we’ve been on the housing waiting list for 30 years. It shows that the City of Cape Town has no interest in developing here in Cape Town. Instead, they’re making sure that people of colour are out of the inner city.”
Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Buhle Booi said land should not be viewed as a commodity but viewed for its social value and be used as such.
There were about 347 000 registered applicants on the City’s Housing Needs Register.
Mayoral committee member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said: ”The City’s social housing projects, which will benefit thousands of beneficiaries, are under way across various well-located areas of the metro, such as Fruit and Veg in Zonnebloem, Pine Road and Dillon Road in Woodstock, and Salt River Market.“
The City said the Housing Development Agency (HDA) had expressed formal interest in three of the sites, resulting in its withdrawal from the auction, namely the Eastridge, Mitchells Plain, site and two small adjacent sites on College Road, Claremont.
The remaining properties were auctioned during an online virtual and live auction by High St Auction Co for the properties the City said were not suitable for municipal purposes.