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SPEECH BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, COUNCILLOR BENEDICTA VAN MINNEN

Note to editors: the following is an extract from a speech delivered by Councillor Van Minnen at Affordable Housing Africa today, 18 July 2016.

Over the past 10 years, the City has been developing a vision for responsible, inclusive development in all urban centres around the metro. However, it has become clear that one method of delivery of affordable housing will not meet the demand in Cape Town and that innovative, City-enabled but partner-driven solutions are the way forward.Our vision has included the exploration of the Cape Town Central Business District (CBD) and near-inner city areas for potential subsidised- and social housing initiatives to low- to medium income-earning residents in well-located parts of the city. For instance, there are currently earmarked near-inner city social housing projects in the Woodstock and Salt River area.

City-wide we have budgeted approximately R230 million in this financial year for social housing projects across the metro through our People’s Housing Process which is City-enabled but community-driven.

Unlike many other cities, Cape Town central has few vacant open spaces or derelict buildings available for redevelopment due to sustained urban management over many years. Thus, a successful strategy has to look wider than the central area and cannot rely on State-sponsored housing initiatives only. The City is therefore actively promoting the provision of social housing by the private sector and housing companies.

We are also looking at innovative ways to help us carry the cost of public infrastructure and social housing developments. One example is the terms and conditions set in the tender that was issued for the development of City-owned erven in the Clifton and Camps Bay area where tenderers have been invited to participate in the purchase and lease of portions of these erven. The evaluation of bids received is currently under way.

Apart from the condition that the private sector would be responsible for the cost of the upgrade of the public infrastructure, a requirement has also been set to drive social housing and improved community integration. As such 10% of the financial offer of the sale/lease proceeds by the successful tenderer will be earmarked for future City-developed, near inner-city social housing projects.

Other such responsible development conditions for earmarked projects are in the pipeline. For instance, the City recently issued the prospectus for the development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct in the Cape Town CBD. Among others, it is also asking the private sector to come forth with proposals which will contribute to the provision of affordable housing opportunities in return for the rights to develop the strip of City-owned land that is located under and between the existing and unfinished highways between the city’s northern edge and the Cape Town Harbour.

Apart from our desire to explore more affordable near-inner city housing projects, we are also concentrating on making sure that affordable state- and private sector or community-driven projects are increasingly better located.

We have been doing considerable work to eradicate the legacy and effects of apartheid-era spatial planning, such as enhancing access to transport, ensuring that new formal settlements are developed near employment opportunities where possible and also close to community facilities. All of the City’s efforts are geared toward inclusive development – to enable all of the people of Cape Town to take part in economic and social opportunities.

The expansion of the MyCiTi bus service to previously neglected and far-flung areas such as Atlantis, Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg, is a clear example of including previously excluded persons by connecting them with world-class public transport infrastructure.

A key intervention to transform the metro over the next decades is the Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Framework which, among others, seeks to improve the location of future residential areas for all income groups in relation to economic and work opportunities. This will hold substantial benefits for lower-income households who spend a higher proportion of their income on transport. If employment opportunities exist closer to their residences, their travel costs will be substantially reduced.

A focus on integrated, mixed-use developments is therefore gaining momentum.

As such, the City is focusing on redevelopment options in two development corridors – the Voortrekker Road Corridor and the South East Corridor, where there are ample opportunities for establishing mixed development, as opposed to the CBD area for example.

Where the City is planning developments and formalising informal settlements, services are being enhanced and communities which historically were characterised by the under-investment in infrastructure, are being boosted through various City programmes.

Cape Town is facing unprecedented urban pressures which the City is trying to address through innovative urban management policies and practices, responsible and inclusive development and planning policies. We are also trying to find ways of mitigating the well-known and often-constraining geographical and topographical characteristics of our metro.

Solutions to our housing challenges therefore require a wholly new approach to future spatial development and urban management practices.

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