Activists want 12 more pieces of public land used for housing

Parking lots in Cape Town’s city centre should be used for affordable housing, says Ndifuna Ukwazi

| By

Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Mpho Raboeane and Robyn Park-Ross, Anoxolo Felane from Indibano Yabahlali and Malcom McCarthy, former National Association of Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) joined in a panel discussion on Tuesday night about affordable housing in Cape Town. Photo: Marecia Damons

  • Housing activists in Cape Town handed over 12 additional applications to the Department of Public Works for state-owned land to be released for affordable housing.
  • They had already identified 32 pieces of land in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
  • They want President Cyril Ramaphosa to use the State Land Disposal Act of 1961 to make public land available for housing.

“If you live in Khayelitsha and you commute to town for your whole working career, you lose five years of your life just sitting in traffic,” said Ndifuna Ukwazi housing activist Robyn Park-Ross.

Park-Ross was among activists who went to the Department of Public Works offices in Cape Town on Wednesday to hand over 12 new applications for pieces of public land to be used for housing. They want President Cyril Ramaphosa to use the State Land Disposal Act of 1961 to make public land available for housing. The Act grants the President the power to donate, sell, lease or exchange any piece of public land in the country.

Their applications were accepted by Mzimkhulu Gusha from the Department of Public Works.

The activists had already identified 32 parcels of land in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape.

In a report released on Tuesday evening, Ndifuna Ukwazi said four sites - Parliament’s parking lot on Roeland Street, owned by the national government; Top Yard parking lot on Glynn Street and the government garages on Hope Street and Roeland Street (all owned by the Western Cape government) - should be used for housing.

The report builds on the #Land4PeopleNot4Parking campaign by housing activists from NU, Reclaim the City, Housing Assembly, and Indibano Yabahlali.

They say these four state-owned parking lots could create a “racially and economically diverse neighbourhood” by providing about 970 social housing apartments, about 970 market-related apartments, and homes for more than 700 people.

“Households should not spend more than one-third of their income on rent or a mortgage. Just because a product is cheaper than the market, does not mean that it is truly affordable, especially when the market is overvalued,” the report said.

The activists want the government to review the use of public land in cities.

According to the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Human Settlements Plan, there are about 360,000 people on the housing waiting list. “The current rate of state-assisted housing delivery remains far below what is needed to address rapidly growing demand, let alone the existing housing backlog,” NU said.

The City’s Human Settlements projected a shortfall in developing housing opportunities of between 22,970 and 27,980 every year between 2018 and 2028—assuming the average annual rate of supply of dwellings and serviced sites, by both in the private and public sectors, is unchanged.

“As a result,” the NU’s report said, “many families have no way to access a home except in informal settlements.”

Anoxolo Felane from Indibano Yabahlali said, “Having cars driving in and out every day affects the climate because it’s emitting carbon dioxide and destroying the ozone layer.

“We want to move to the CBD because it’s closer to work and school instead of needing to take transport.”

Former Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) general manager Malcolm McCarthy said without intervention from the government, there would never be better housing opportunities for people in lower income brackets

“With no intervention, we’re never going to have better economic integration. In South Africa, because of apartheid, most of the people who are poor are black. If we can improve economic integration, there will be a better opportunity for racial integration in Cape Town,” said McCarthy.

TOPICS:  Housing

Next:  Unpaid school uniform makers occupy Gauteng social development offices

Previous:  Commuters battle to get refunds after Cape Town train lines suspended

© 2024 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.