Cape Town - Activists have backed Premier Helen Zille’s call on the national government to release land for the development of about 100 000 affordable houses in Cape Town.
But they remain circumspect about the Western Cape government’s plans to deliver affordable housing.
Zille said the national government should make well-located properties under the control of the state available for housing to facilitate a land reform process that would “build, rather than break” South Africa’s economy.
“Should national government release five large pieces of land, which consist of Ysterplaat, Culemborg, Youngsfield, Wingfield and Denel in Cape Town, it could potentially yield 93817 affordable housing units,” Zille said. “I will continue to advocate for the release of this land, for this purpose, just as I did between 2006 and 2009, while I was still mayor of Cape Town.”
Land activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi supported Zille’s call but said the provincial government had a bad track record with housing development.
“This should not deflect from the province’s own abysmal record of delivering affordable housing in well-located areas, despite owning many properties that are vacant and underutilised,” the organisation said.
In 2017, Zille authorised the sale of the Tafelberg property in Sea Point even though the provincial department of human settlements wanted to develop housing on the site.
The provincial government also administers land in the CBD, including Top Yard and the Government Garage Precinct, where large stretches of land are used as parking space for government vehicles. For years the provincial government has backtracked on plans to free up land for housing.
The Development Action Group, a non-profit organisation that advocates access to land, said national, provincial and local government did not have a suitable land release programme. Executive director Adi Kumar called for the development of an asset management plan by all three tiers of government that showed “forward thinking”.