The Western Cape High Court Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Civic organisation and legal clinic Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) is hauling the City to court to clarify its obligations to advance spatial justice, by developing legislation to ensure developers include affordable housing, when applying for land-use rights.

The legal action, they said, was a move to pressure the City into finalising its inclusionary housing policy, which it started drafting in August.

They asked the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside the City’s approval of the high-end 39-storey mixed-use apartment development, at 7 Buitengracht Street.

They also asked that the developer’s application be remitted to the municipal planning tribunal for a decision on whether to impose conditions requiring provision of affordable housing.

Cape Town is experiencing a housing affordability crisis, the organisation said, with poorer residents spending up to 40% of their household income travelling long distances into the City.

“The City has the power and obligation to promote affordable housing in private development that can bring poor and working-class residents back into the City. 

In August 2018, the City committed to drafting an inclusionary housing policy to increase the number of residential units in the inner city and other well-located areas for families with a monthly income of between R3 500 and R18 000,” said NU attorney Jonty Cogger.

“This litigation intends to pressure the City to finalise this policy,” said Cogger.

City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo yesterday said the City cannot comment as it had not been served with a notice of the review application.

“Also, once we have been notified, the details of this said development and the merits of the case will be argued as part of the court proceedings and, as such, we will not be able to comment until such time as the court proceedings have been concluded,” Tyhalibongo said.

Housing academics were also included as experts to support the NU application.

They include UCT associate professor in architecture, planning and geomatics Nancy Odendaal and San Diego State University professor emeritus in the graduate programme in city planning Dr Nico Calavita.

Meanwhile the City’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, announced the Granger Bay Boulevard site, Erf 2189, Green Point, located adjacent to the Cape Town Stadium was geared up for lease opportunities. 

The City intends to lease the property on a long-term, 99-year leasehold basis.

Cape Times