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City defends auctioning of properties

Cameron Dugmore

Cameron Dugmore

Published Feb 3, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - The ANC in the Western Cape says the City’s auction of properties will close the door on land being used for social housing, during a visit to one of the sites in Claremont due to be sold.

However, the City said all properties up for auction have been thoroughly assessed and are not required for municipal purposes.

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The ANC on Wednesday held a briefing at a College Road property in Claremont saying the City wanted to auction the site located close to transport routes, shopping centres and schools which could have contributed to both integration and densification.

The ANC’s Cameron Dugmore said this and a Mitchells Plain plot were among 17 properties the City wanted to auction.

Dugmore said building houses on this land could make a positive impact on the housing shortage.

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He called for the City to cancel the auction of properties and engage with the National Minister of Human Settlements about the issue.

“While the DA complains about not getting access to national land, they continue selling City land which can be used for affordable social housing. We need to identify land and as per our Constitution and ensure that the release of such land must redress the results of past discrimination,“ he said.

The City said should another organ of state be of the view that some of the land could be suitable for their purposes, they are welcome to make contact with the City in this regard.

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“The National Minister of Housing has approached us informally to express an interest in only two of the 17 sites – neither of which is the College Road site and we are awaiting formal communication from her. We are of course happy to discuss this with the national department, and if they want to acquire the sites, then we are open to that approach,” the City said.

They added that the Mitchells Plain property is being released for the purpose of private sector development of housing opportunities for Mitchells Plain residents within a mixed-use development.

“In the specific instance of the College Road sites, these sites are too small for viable social housing development, either separately or taken together. There is also no pending land restitution claim in the area for which the sites could be purposed. Each of the two sites are 725m2 in extent,” the City said.

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Researcher at Ndifuna Ukwazi Michael Clark said the City’s disposal of publicly owned land for a short-term “cash injection” within the context of a profound affordable housing and segregation crisis is indicative of the City’s “myopic approach” to the value of public land.

“Public land is an invaluable public resource that should serve a social function, rather than being used to bolster the already sufficient coffers of the City.

“The sales of these properties are indicative of an uncoordinated, ad hoc approach to public land management by the City. The City has not been able to establish and implement a coordinated response to the management of public land that sets out clear powers and responsibilities and ensures that all its public land is proactively managed in a manner that meets its broad Constitutional and legislative obligations to redistribute land and balance the competing interests of different departments that need access to land,“ said Clark.

Cape Times

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