The City of Cape Town government has tabled the release of the Salt River Market precinct for development and construction of social housing, as well as the release of a second, even larger site at Pickwick Road.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the Salt River site would deliver over 200 social housing units within a mixed-use development. Salt River Market is already the third social housing site brought to Council in three months since the launch of the City’s Land Release Priority Programme in April. Today’s Council agenda also includes the expected approval for a major 600-social housing unit development at Pickwick Road in Salt River. Mayor Hill-Lewis addressed Council on the City’s commitment to faster release of well-located city-owned land to deliver more affordable housing for Capetonians.

‘It gives me great pleasure to announce that we are tabling the handing over of the important Salt River Market precinct for the construction of over 200 social housing units by a social housing institution. We are making history today by enabling this nine-storey development right in the heart of the city, at Salt River Circle, close to social and economic amenities.

‘Another major project set to deliver 600 social housing units in an eight-storey development – Pickwick Road in Salt River – is also back on Council’s agenda today, this time for in-principle approval for land release. Pickwick is a bricks and mortar example of how we are shortening land release timeframes, having already completed public participation in just two months.

‘Together with Newmarket Street, we’ve now brought three properties in three months to Council worth over 1 000 social housing units. Our Land Release Programme is gaining momentum. Our goal is a more rapid pipeline for social housing and mixed-use private sector development.

We know that fully government subsidised housing programmes in South Africa are undergoing a permanent tapering of budgets and delivery. The future of affordable housing delivery is not going to be in the free housing space and is not going to be delivered by the state. If we intend to make any meaningful dent on the demand for housing in our cities, then it will be through unlocking micro-developers, social housing companies, and private sector delivery,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis in his address to Council.

Overall, the Salt River Market development comprises 700 mixed market units, including 216 social housing units. The development will benefit from capital and operational cross-subsidisation through the inclusion of the open market residential units

The property is also near key public transport interchanges. It is across the road from Salt River Station (where Northern, Central and Southern Lines converge), as well as MyCiti Route 261, which connects Century City to the City Bowl via Voortrekker Road, and Route 102, which connects Salt River Station to the CBD via Woodstock, Walmer Estate and District 6.

‘Besides doing everything in our power to deliver more affordable housing, we are advancing an advocacy agenda for national government to release the huge pieces of unused state land in the city, which are at least 77 times the size of the land the city owns. I have met with the national Minister of Public Works, Minister de Lille, to get an update on these mega-properties, and I am counting on her to keep up the interest she had in these sites as Mayor, now that she controls them,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

In his speech, the mayor also elaborated on why the city is prioritising well-located affordable housing.

‘At the heart of addressing the dignity of each family, and of giving people a sense that their life can get better, that the future can be better, is decent affordable housing. So, our commitment to more affordable housing in Cape Town is about giving people a pathway out of poverty. It is about showing them a dignified way ahead, and about getting them a sense of security that comes with having a warm, dry, safe place to stay. We want that for many more people. We also want more people to live closer to where they work.

But there is something else too. So many people in urban areas across South Africa experienced a profound loss and severing of sense of belonging because of the way that apartheid twisted, mangled, and distorted our urban form. That trauma continues to reverberate today. So, our commitment to more affordable housing is also about building a more inclusive city that can make progress in unstitching the legacy of apartheid.’

“[O]ur commitment to more affordable housing is also about building a more inclusive city that can make progress in unstitching the legacy of apartheid.” Image credit: CoCT

“[O]ur commitment to more affordable housing is also about building a more inclusive city that can make progress in unstitching the legacy of apartheid.” Image credit: CoCT

6 500 social housing units in the pipeline

‘With the latest release of Salt River Market, the city now has over 800 central Cape Town social housing units in or nearing the construction phase via social housing partners.

The other projects are Maitland (+-200 SH units), and two more in Woodstock, Pine Road (+-240 SH units) and Dillon Lane (+-150 SH units).

‘Inner city projects in the land-use management phase include Newmarket Street (+- 200 SH units), and Woodstock Hospital precinct, where around 700 social housing units have been delayed by the orchestrated building hi-jackings of March 2017. The City is committed to doing everything possible to fast-track this social housing through the correct legal channels.

‘The city currently has more than 6 500 social housing units in the overall pipeline across 50 land parcels citywide. Social Housing policy, set nationally, targets households with gross monthly incomes ranging from R1 850 to R22 000. The Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) recently estimated average monthly rentals of R722 – R6 475 for these projects, depending on household income,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi.