Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Cape Town to develop 10 sites in the inner city for affordable housing

After months of pressure from housing activists, the City of Cape Town has identified 10 sites that will be developed in and near the Cape Town city centre for affordable housing.

Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said on Tuesday the City had selected these sites as part of an effort to reverse apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town. Apartheid spatial planning, he said, is characterised by people being forced to live far from economic opportunities.

“We must acknowledge that, to date, our efforts to radically transform Cape Town’s spatial reality to enable all of our residents to participate more equally in the local economy have fallen short,” Herron said.

The 10 sites are in the city centre and in the inner city suburbs of Woodstock and Salt River. Three of the sites have already been earmarked for social housing.

Two developments in Woodstock will provide about 240 residential units for rent to households who earn an income of less than R15 000 a month.

A third development will be in Salt River’s Albert Road, where more than 10 families face eviction. The 476 units will be a mixture of social housing rental stock for families earning less than R15 000 a month and GAP housing (rental units for households that earn between R3 500 and R20 000 a month).

People will have to be on the City’s housing database and pay rent to qualify for the Salt River and Woodstock units. The Salt River development will also include retail and office space, Herron said, to ensure that it retains financial stability.

“Providing affordable housing opportunities closer to where people work or close to public transport is non-negotiable. In this way, we will create a more integrated and inclusive city where residents have equal access to opportunities,” Herron said. “As I have stated, where people live matters.”

The City also announced that five additional parcels of land had been identified in Salt River and Woodstock for affordable housing, and that similar efforts were being made to find sites for low-cost housing in the northern suburbs of Belville and Goodwood, which each have their own city centres. Sites in southern suburbs such as Wynberg, Claremont and Plumstead are also being looked for housing opportunities, as well as Parow, Mitchell’s Plain, and Khayelitsha.

‘A 180-degree change’

“The manner in which we are approaching these developments represents a 180-degree change in how we will confront the urgent demand for affordable and inclusionary housing in future,” Herron said.

The City of Cape Town has been heavily criticised by housing activists in pressure group Reclaim the City for failing to fulfil its commitment to provide housing in the inner city for the poor. The group, which has been praised for the City’s latest announcement, has welcomed Herron’s statement as a “win for affordable housing”.

“This is a victory for people who are being priced out of well-located areas or facing eviction. It shows the power that residents have when they organise together to resist injustice and demand change,” Reclaim the City said in a statement.

The group also said Herron should be “commended” for “showing the leadership this city requires”. Reclaim the City has occupied buildings in Woodstock and Granger Bay, near the V&A Waterfront, to apply pressure on the City to develop social housing.

Activists have faced eviction from Woodstock, Salt River and Sea Point where rental prices have become exceedingly high in recent years. Last year members of Reclaim the City brought a court action against the City for offering Salt River evictees housing in a “relocation camp” in Wolwerivier, 30km from the inner city .

The group says that it will remain cautious until the City shows that it will adhere to the timeframes and plans it has outlined for transitional and social housing developments.

“We will resist to stay in our homes until we see bricks, front doors and keys,” Reclaim the City said.

The deadlines

Five of the 10 sites the City identified in the cite centre, Woodstock and Salt River will be released to the private sector, who will become partners with the City in social housing development. The prospectus for these five developments will be presented to the public in two months.

Herron said the City is also committed to providing temporary housing for people in the Woodstock area who have been evicted, which he hopes the city council will approve in a meeting on July 27.

Later this month, Herron is also expected to publish an inclusive housing policy, which will regulate the role of the private sector as partners in the development of affordable housing. Companies approved by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority and interested in partnering with the City have been asked to register on the City’s social housing database by the end of July. 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

GDP, recession, JSE, rallying rand … these terms mean very...

The economy is not producing work, with many young adults working outside their fields of study or considering leaving the country as a result

More top stories

Europe, Asia rob West Africa of fish

Greenpeace Africa reports that the fishmeal and fish oil industry is ‘robbing the Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal of livelihoods and food’

Covid jab tech helps fight malaria

An estimated two-thirds of malaria deaths are among children under the age of five, most of them in Africa.

Learners moving to other provinces puts education departments under pressure

Gauteng and the Western Cape struggle to put children in class, but Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are closing schools as enrolment plummets

New membership system encounters problems in ANC branches

The Lower South Coast region has complained of a plot by some branch secretaries to manipulate the system
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×