Man holds a sign stating that housing is a human right during a rally for housing rights in the United States.
Stephen Zenner/Getty Images
Social housing company Communicare said that while encouraged by the city’s approval of public participation processes for social housing projects in Cape Town’s central business district (CBD), the announcement n is only the first step in the process.
Late last month, the city announced that Cape Town City Council had approved the launch of public participation processes for over 700 social housing units in the CBD.
Malusi Booi, Mayco Member for Human Settlements, says the proposed release of Newmarket Street land in the city includes around 365 mixed market units and 165 social housing units.
He says the Pickwick property in Salt River comprises an 1,800 unit development, proposed to include around 600 social housing units. He says all necessary public participation and due process will be followed.
Makhosi Kubheka, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Communicare, says they welcome the city’s decision to develop social housing on prime properties close to the city.
“We are encouraged by the progress the City has made in providing low cost and social housing for residents close to major transportation routes, accessible amenities and employment opportunities. This is a step in the right direction, despite the slow progress, to address spatial inequality in our city.
Kubheka says the development of mixed-use properties such as Salt River Market sets a precedent for including marginal communities in mainstream society while integrating low-cost and social housing with retail opportunities.
“This move begins to reverse the chronic housing backlog at a time when many residents are pulling out of the bond market due to rising interest rates.”
Kubheka says there are still many hurdles to overcome.
“There are several administrative and procedural hurdles to resolve before Communicare can innovate on the property it has set aside for development. We look forward to working with the City to resolve outstanding issues to expedite the delivery of social housing. »
Robyn Park-Ross, a researcher at Ndifuna Ukwazi, says that while they welcome the progress, the publication of these sites still does not offer deeper clarity on when the projects will be completed and by which social housing company. .
Ndifuna Ukwazi is an activist organization and legal center that promotes constitutional rights and social justice.
“We hope that this publication signals a sense of urgency on the part of the City to meet these commitments. For example, Councilor Booi held a groundbreaking ceremony marking the notional construction of the Pine Road social housing project (in front of the media) in the third quarter of 2019. To date, very little progress has been made and processes have evolved at a glacial pace.
“Thousands of people in Cape Town are homeless, thousands live in shacks, thousands have insecure tenure rights and thousands cannot afford to buy a house, with the average house price being of R1.5 million The City expects the private sector to meet this need, but has no plan in place to regulate the private sector.
“The City had also committed to putting in place an inclusive housing policy by June 2021, which, again, remains to be implemented. It was then that many developers pledged to provide affordable housing despite the lack of policy.
According to Booi, the city has more than 6,500 social housing units planned on 50 plots of land throughout the city. These include 2,000 social housing units in the CBD and another 2,500 opportunities – either under construction or nearby – along the Voortrekker road corridor and close to “important economic nodes”.
Booi says: “It’s an exciting time for us. Our Cape Town construction plans are moving forward together and there is a will and great desire for real action and delivery, despite the cumbersome regulatory environment in which we operate. The city is doing everything in its power to speed up the process.
He says the city’s recently launched land release program is a priority program for Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
It focuses on:
- A smoother and faster pipeline of land release for social housing;
- identification of large mixed-use sites for private sector development;
- unleash the enormous potential of micro-developers;
- developing an enabling environment to accelerate land release;
Booi says: “By making Cape Town a city of hope, the land release program aims to unlock and stimulate the potential for a large-scale public-private social housing programme.
- For more details and to apply, visit: https://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Apply/City-housing-and-properties/Housing-opportunities/Apply-for-social-housing