Premier calls for hous­ing study on Sea Point site

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SIYABONGA SESTANT

PREMIER Helen Zille has or­dered a fea­si­bil­ity study to test the vi­a­bil­ity of so­cial hous­ing on the con­tentious Tafel­berg prop­erty in Sea Point.

More than 8 500 sig­na­tures were re­ceived af­ter the Western Cape High Court ruled the provin­cial govern­ment must open a pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion process and await a de­ci­sion by the cab­i­net on whether or not the land should be sold.

The High Court froze the mul­ti­mil­lion-rand sale in May.

Sea Point res­i­dents Thozama Adon­isi and Sharone Daniels, along with other work­ers sup­ported by the Re­claim the City move­ment and the Nd­i­funa Uk­wazi Trust, who ap­proached the High Court on the is­sue, hailed the judg­ment as a “vic­tory for the poor”.

They are adamant the land should be used for af­ford­able hous­ing.

In a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day by Zille’s of­fice, Zille said the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Pub­lic Works had been man­dated by the provin­cial cab­i­net to pro­duce mod­el­ling in or­der for the cab­i­net to make an in­formed de­ci­sion.

The Depart­ment of Hu­man Set­tle­ments would also pro­vide in­put.

Of the 8 583 com­ments re­ceived dur­ing the pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion con­sul­ta­tions, 4 486 were in favour of up­hold­ing the sale of the er­ven to an in­de­pen­dent school, while 4 085 wanted the land de­vel­oped for so­cial hous­ing.

Twelve par­tic­i­pants were in favour of a mixed- use ap­proach.

Zille said: “In tak­ing a de­ci­sion, the cab­i­net is re­quired to bal­ance the var­i­ous com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties in so­ci­ety, in line with our con­sti­tu­tional man­dates.

“We must also take into ac­count the myr­iad leg­isla­tive obli­ga­tions with which we must com­ply.”

She said they looked for­ward to test­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of so­cial hous­ing on the Tafel­berg site, “based on sound fi­nan­cial mod­el­ling”.

“The mod­el­ling will look at all avail­able so­cial hous­ing op­tions, based on the pre­vail­ing sub­sidy op­tions, so that a fair and ra­tio­nal de­ci­sion can be taken.”

Nd­i­funa Uk­wazi has wel­comed this, but called for an “open and trans­par­ent” process. “Premier Helen Zille and her cab­i­net are com­mended for tak­ing steps to­wards a well-con­sid­ered fi­nal de­ci­sion on the sale,” the or­gan­i­sa­tion said.

“This is a vic­tory for black African and coloured work­ing- class peo­ple who need af­ford­able homes in the in­ner city. The prov­ince has ac­cepted that work­ing- class peo­ple should be con­sid­ered as po­ten­tial ten­ants in the in­ner city.”

But the group also ex­pressed con­cern about the in­volve­ment of the Trans­port and Pub­lic Works depart­ment, cit­ing “re­cent rev­e­la­tions of lies and con­flicts of in­ter­ests re­lated to the Tafel­berg sale and at­trib­uted to of­fi­cials within that depart­ment”.

This, they said, should dis- qual­ify the depart­ment from be­ing “the au­thor­ity in charge of se­cur­ing this study”.

siyabonga.sesant@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: JA­SON BOUD

Tafel­berg School on Main Road Sea Point has be­come the sub­ject of con­tro­versy.

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