Cape Times

Activists slam City over ‘remote’ affordable housing developmen­ts


RECLAIM the City and Ndifuna Ukwazi have hit back at the City after it labelled Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) “toxic”, with the activists saying poor and working-class families continue to experience an apartheid city while public housing is developed only on the outskirts of the city, far from economic opportunit­ies.

“In this city, the majority of Capetonian­s cannot afford to live in well-located areas close to economic opportunit­ies and social amenities,” said NU.

“In this city, many are forced to rely on state-funded housing for a place to call home, spending decades or even lifetimes on an opaque housing database awaiting access to housing.”

The reaction from both Reclaim the City, a social movement advocating for the use of well-located public land for affordable housing, and NGO Ndifuna Ukwazi comes after the City claimed they made it impossible for the City to deliver well-located social housing. NU said this was far from the truth. “The City has done little to mitigate the legacy of spatial apartheid in the 27 years since apartheid formally ended,” said NU.

“The Western Cape has a housing backlog of just under 600 000, with more than 360 000 being attributab­le to the City of Cape Town.

“Reclaim the City’s Cissie Gool and Ahmed Kathrada houses reveal an opportunit­y as well as a need.”

Instead of pursuing collaborat­ive opportunit­ies, the City, NU said, “opts to vilify those who find themselves in untenable situations under the guise of defending property rights”.

The organisati­on said they hoped the City would support calls for meaningful engagement on just alternativ­es in response to the challenges posed by the housing crisis.

The City said it was driving over 2 000 affordable housing opportunit­ies, currently in the constructi­on phase, near urban centres.

“Human settlement­s delivery is beset with challenges, including R1.3 billion in City housing projects under threat from ongoing, orchestrat­ed land invasions, national government budget cuts, a weak national economy and regulatory red tape.

“Social housing developmen­ts are intricate and complex projects, and the City is committed to more affordable housing opportunit­ies on suitable and well-located land across the metro through partnershi­ps and innovation,” Mayco member for human settlement­s Malusi Booi said.

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