Cape Town - In a significant victory for the poor and working class, the well-located SABC’s Rocklands Villas property in Sea Point will be used for the development of affordable housing.
The affordable social housing is expected to be for people earning between R1 500 and R15 000 a month.
This after the cash-strapped public broadcaster accepted a R50 million offer from the Housing Development Agency (HDA), an agency of the Department of Human Settlements.
The SABC was set to auction the building yesterday at about 11am, following a court ruling last month that allowed the public broadcaster to proceed with the auction.
HDA and the department had in May obtained an urgent interdict which resulted in the cancellation of a first attempted auction.
SABC group executive for corporate affairs Gugu Ntuli said: “The SABC can confirm it has accepted an offer from the HDA and the auction planned for today was cancelled. The SABC was within its rights to accept the offer and at this stage is not in a position to disclose the amount of the sale. This information will be shared accordingly with the public in due course.”
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said they remained committed to redress pre-1994 spatial segregation by ensuring that they acquire strategic land parcels for human settlements development.
“The building we have acquired from SABC will make it possible for us to respond to the housing needs of our people in the City of Cape Town. What we have achieved with all our social partners is a clear indication that together we can do more to change the lives of our people for the better.”
Sisulu’s spokesperson Steve Motale said since the beginning of this year the department through HDA has acquired a number of buildings, including from Eskom.
“The government has delivered over 30 000 social housing units while contributing various housing opportunities for the people,” said Motale.
In a joint statement, housing lobby groups said the SABC property was situated less than 5km away from the city centre, where the average home sells for R6.5 million.
Ndifuna Ukwazi’s head of political organising Buhle Booi said: “The sale of the Rocklands Villa to the HDA for affordable housing, along with our recent prevention of the sale of the Tafelberg property, is a victory for Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City in our efforts to turn the tide on apartheid geography in Cape Town and create access to housing within the centre of the city for Black, Indian and Coloured people.”
Good’s secretary-general Brett Herron said the party’ position on public property, land and buildings was that it was in the custody of the state on behalf of the people of the country.
“No government, or government entity, should be disposing of well-located properties when there is an urgent need to address the housing crisis.
“The SABC should never have been in a position to lawfully sell off its property. It is a state-owned entity, and property it holds is owned by the people of this country.”
The ANC’s Cameron Dugmore said MPL Khalid Sayed and other members were picketing outside the building when the news broke.
“This victory is a further step in the struggle for housing, security and comfort as contained in the Freedom Charter. Now the NDA can embark on a process of planning and consultation around the development of Rocklands.
“We will focus our attention on Tafelberg school where the DA still refuses to make this site available for social housing,” he said.
The Sea Point Fresnaye Bantry Bay Ratepayers & Residents Association (SFB) said they agree in principle to the provision of affordable housing in the area.
“However, we are concerned that any intention to provide affordable housing is done in a way that delivers on the promise and the expectation. Currently as we have no details of what the HDA proposes, we are not in a position to comment on the proposed development.
We look forward to hearing more about the proposed development.”