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Fears for social housing projects after CoCT 'halted Salt River project'

After reports the City put a stop to the Salt River Market Site Development, which they've denied, fears mount for other social housing projects. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

After reports the City put a stop to the Salt River Market Site Development, which they've denied, fears mount for other social housing projects. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 6, 2019


Cape Town - Fears are mounting that other social housing projects in the inner city could be stopped after reports that the City has put a stop to the Salt River Market Site Development, a claim the City has denied.

It emerged this weekend that the City has allegedly backtracked on its decision for the Salt River market to be developed.

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Sources told the Cape Argus the bidding process for the site had been delayed, which had caused the development to stall.

Social Housing activist group Reclaim the City said the social housing projects at Salt River Market and Pine Road were still not secured.

“The affordable housing committee on the Green Point Bowling Green was quietly dropped and the current club leases renewed. This seems increasingly like a concerted attack on the shared vision of an inclusive city. It is also a symptom of the ongoing incompetence of the City’s asset management department under Ian Neilson, who is determined to sell our public land for cash,” the group said.

The City came under pressure and criticism for shelving the Salt River Market development in October last year.

However Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi maintains that the projects are on track.

“Despite conflicting reports, the City can confirm that the affordable social housing opportunities planned for the Salt River Market site and the Pine Road site are still on track and are making progress. The rezoning application for the Salt River Market site was approved by the Municipal Planning Tribunal. The appeals period expired in June 2019 and an appeals report will be referred to the Mayor’s Appeal Committee for a decision.”

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Initially, Communicare proposed to buy the 1.7hectares of land, valued at R144 million, for R1.8m to build a R715m high-rise building. The recommendations for the development of social housing in Salt River were sent back to the portfolio committee to investigate.

This unleashed the ire of advocacy groups who accused the City of blocking the project.

Former mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron resigned after the plans were shelved.

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“We are angry and frustrated. We are in the midst of the most profound housing crisis. Poor and working-class people are being evicted or displaced every week and the only dignified alternative accommodation is now being provided by Reclaim the City in one of five occupied public buildings,” the group said.

Herron said it would be a shame if the City backtracked on its decision.

“We need communities to integrate. What we are seeing is a housing pattern that (suggests) the City is resistant to social and affordable housing.”

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Herron added that if the City backtracked on the Salt River Market development it could mean the end for other social housing projects too.

“This just sets back everything that former mayor Patricia de Lille and I have worked on for over 10 years. Public land should be used to address social housing,” he said.

Booi elaborated that The City’s Supply Chain Management Bid Adjudication Committee’s cancelled the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Woodstock Hospital site, the public open space next to Woodstock Hospital, Fruit and Veg in Roeland Street, New Market Street and the Pickwick Street social housing site on 29 July 2019.

"This is so that the City can follow a different process for the disposal of these sites that are earmarked for social housing opportunities. Each of these sites has its own complexities and will trigger different land use application processes and therefore it is vital that due processes are followed.

"The new RFP will include the updated information pertaining to current valuations of the land to ensure a more efficient process when considering the disposal of the parcels of land for social housing opportunities. Currently the directorate is working on the various land use application processes required for the specific sites," Booi said.


Related Topics:

City of Cape Town