City removes three properties from public land auction after backlash

Published Feb 10, 2022


CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town has withdrawn three properties due for auction on Thursday, saying the national Housing Development Agency (HDA) had expressed interest in the sites.

In a statement, the City said the HDA has formally expressed interest in a 13 000m2 property in Eastridge, Mitchells Plain, as well as two adjacent sites of 725m2 each on College Road, Claremont.

Fourteen remaining properties were still to be auctioned in an online virtual auction.

The City said the Eastridge property, due to be auctioned for mixed-use development by the private sector, has been withdrawn from auction to enable negotiations regarding the possible transfer of that erf to the HDA, in “good faith”.

“The City is determined to ensure the Eastridge property goes towards the higher purpose of meaningful residential and commercial opportunities.

“The City has previously stated it would consider the transfer to the HDA on condition, inter alia, that the site be developed within five years, or revert to municipal ownership.

“This condition is to ensure that Eastridge residents benefit timeously from the potential residential and commercial opportunities for which both the City and HDA agree the site has potential.”

They said the national government had previously expressed no interest in the property.

“The HDA has further expressed interest in two small adjacent sites of 725m2 each on College Road, Claremont. This is notwithstanding a previous HDA assessment, which reached the conclusion that these sites are too small for viable state-subsidised housing developments.

“In the circumstances, the two Claremont erven have also been withdrawn from the auction to pursue further engagements on the future use of this land,” the City said.

The auction comes after fierce criticism from Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) and Reclaim the City who challenged what they said was “short-sightedness of the City’s disposal of well-located public land in exchange for a short-term cash injection” in the context of an affordable housing and segregation crisis.

“The public pressure led to three properties that are potentially suitable for the development of social or affordable housing being withdrawn from the auction. All of these sites are located close to schools, transport opportunities and social amenities, including clinics, hospitals and police stations,” NU said.

It expressed concern that these three sites were considered for auction in the first place.

“The City’s failure to proactively identify these sites as potential sites of the development of affordable housing is indicative of the City’s failure to manage public land in line with the City’s obligations to combat spatial segregation and ensure equitable access to land to the majority of Cape Town residents, who continue to live without access to well-located affordable housing.”

Cape Times

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