Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said the government had a fiduciary duty to make sure public land was used for the public good and not sold off to the highest bidder.
Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said the government had a fiduciary duty to make sure public land was used for the public good and not sold off to the highest bidder.

City land auction initiative slammed by activists as ’myopic approach’

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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HOUSING activists have slammed the City’s online auction initiative for an upcoming round of public sales of land not required for municipal purposes.

In a statement, the City encouraged bidders to register and bid online when the platform goes live on June 30.

Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) head of research and advocacy Michael Clark said the City should not dispose of land without a considered and transparent justification as to why public land cannot be used to advance broader societal functions.

“The City’s disposal of publicly owned land for a short-term cash injection in the context of a profound affordable housing and segregation crisis is indicative of the City’s myopic approach to the value of public land and its failure to prioritise public land as an invaluable public resource.

“While we accept that not every parcel of land will be suitable for affordable housing, what is critical is that access to land, particularly public land, is at the heart of restructuring society. It is not sufficient for the City to simply state that public land has become surplus,” said Clark.

NU also said the sales of these properties were indicative of an unco-ordinated, ad hoc approach to public land management by the City

Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said the government had a fiduciary duty to make sure public land was used for the public good and not sold off to the highest bidder.

“At a time in our country’s history, with a lot of debate about the non-existent progress of land reform and the snail's pace process of restitution and redistribution, no state entity should be embarking on the wholesale disposal of public land.

“Public land is the people’s assets temporarily in the custody of the government of the day. There’s no reasonable urgency for these sales four months before an election,” said Herron.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management Alderman James Vos said the City recently appointed service provider High Street Auctions to manage the auctions.

“Smart real estate transactions of immovable public assets underpin so many elements of Cape Town’s economic recovery by generating jobs through construction and revenue for municipal service delivery,” said Vos.

“The volumes and value of property disposals and leases handled by the property management department speaks to our smart real estate approach of getting the best economic and social value out of our assets.

“It is because of this technology that the City has been able to partner with High Street Auctions, which has just won the global auction marketing campaign of the year award for 2021, after going up against some of the biggest and most well-funded auction houses in the world,” said Vos.

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