The battle for affordable housing in the city centre has intensified after Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille revealed her plans.
The battle for affordable housing in the city centre has intensified after Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille revealed her plans.

De Lille plans to release Customs House for affordable housing

By Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published Sep 29, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The battle for affordable housing in the city centre has intensified after Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille revealed her plans to release the Customs House building along the Foreshore, which is owned by her department, for the cause.

De Lille said they were in the process of finalising a feasibility study in order to package the building for release.

She revealed her plans during a broadcast interview on Monday.

“These things I am talking about are not just because it’s elections, they are well documented. In 2018, this was the key reason why I resigned from the Democratic Alliance and as mayor of the City of Cape Town before my term came to an end, because I was prevented from building houses in well-located areas,” she said during the interview.

De Lille and DA mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis have been at loggerheads recently over “empty promises” on affordable housing in the City.

In the interview, De Lille said the problem with the DA started after she released 14 pieces of land to build affordable housing.

“Finally it ended up in court where they lost four cases against me at that time.”

She said she has been working together with mayor Dan Plato to integrate the city, and to release Customs House “in the city centre itself”.

Hill-Lewis took to Twitter to congratulate De Lille for releasing “national government property for housing”.

He said yesterday they would be doing their bit for affordable housing in Cape Town.

“My commitment is clear. She was mayor for eight years and did very little. Now she’s been minister for three years and done even less. So let’s not hear lectures from her. Show us with action, not angry words,” said Hill-Lewis.

Plato told the Cape Times that he has been in discussions with De Lille about making land available in the city.

“I have been in discussions with Minister De Lille for some time about making land available in the City of Cape Town, and while the property has yet to be handed over to the City, I welcome the commitment from the Minister to assist the City,” he said

However, affordable housing groups slammed the plans to release the building as an “electoral campaign”.

Ndifuna Ukwazi attorney Jonty Cogger said it was an insult to people living in poverty and hunger for politicians to release plans for affordable housing as an “electoral campaign” without committing resources and political will to implement this.

“The City's people, irrespective of party affiliation, deserve more respect, more action and commitment to redressing the legacy of apartheid,” he said.

Cape Times

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