Below is an extract from yesterday’s Council Speech delivered by Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Geordin Hill-Lewis. Image credit: CoCT

Geordin Hill-Lewis. Image credit: CoCT

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced another milestone for affordable housing land release yesterday, with the City’s Earl Street property in Woodstock set to be advertised today, 9 December, for public comment on its release for social housing. Over 1 300 social housing units across five central Cape Town properties have now been approved in just over six months under the Mayoral Priority Programme for Affordable Housing Land Release. Around 300 more transitional shelter beds are also on the cards to help the homeless off the streets in the CBD and seaboard areas. The City will file planning approvals early next year for a new ‘Safe Space’ in Green Point, which will also include an opportunity for any affected parties to comment.

“Today we can announce yet another well-located property for social housing, with public participation opening tomorrow on the City’s plans to release the Earl Street property in Woodstock for development. Around 1 300 social housing units have been approved since May, with 800 social housing units now in the construction phase in Central Cape Town,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis in his speech to City Council on 8 December.

Initial findings from technical and feasibility studies on the Earl Street property indicate a potential yield of around 160 Social Housing units in two-four storey buildings on this 7 200m2 property. Other properties making up the 1 300+ social housing units reaching critical land release approval milestones in the last six months include:

Salt River Market (Woodstock) – 215
Newmarket Street (Woodstock) – 200
Pickwick (Salt River) – 600
Fruit & Veg (CBD) – 150
Earl Street (Woodstock) – 160

Mayor Hill-Lewis also congratulated the first beneficiaries of the City’s newly launched No Cost Transfer programme, which will make it easier for tenants of around 7 500 saleable Council rental units to become homeowners, without having to pay anything towards the transfer costs of these units.

“It has warmed all our hearts to see Ms Elizabeth Bruintjies, and Ms Francis Isaacs, and many other residents becoming homeowners for the very first time in their lives by taking ‘no cost’ transfer of the homes they live in. Mrs Gadija Japhta, from Lotus River, is one of the very first to take ownership of her home, and she and Mr Japhta are here with us in the gallery today. We welcome them and congratulate them warmly,” said the mayor.

Public Spaces must be open to all

The High Court recently ordered the serving of eviction notices for those unlawfully occupying the public open space on Baxter Street in Durbanville who have consistently refused offers of social support.

The city will be approaching the courts for similar orders for hotspots around the city, including the CBD. These processes take time, as the City needs to establish the social circumstances and identities of those unlawfully occupying public spaces and ensure there is a record of social assistance having been offered as a first resort.

“There are some in our city who think that we should allow people to claim a piece of public land as theirs and never do anything about it. There are some who think the city should never evict anyone from property that is not theirs. There are some who believe it is a good idea to encourage the further loss of public space to those who would like to claim it, regardless of whether this would mean every verge, road reserve, sports facility and public building in Cape Town is lost for broader public use. That is not, and will never be, our policy,” said the mayor.