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Premier Helen Zille has called for the release of several mega-properties that can be developed for affordable housing in the Cape Town metro.

The properties are owned by the national government, and are all well-located for affordable housing.

Writing in her Daily Maverick column, the Premier says these properties would facilitate the kind of land reform that will build, rather than break, South Africa’s economy.

“Should national government release its five large pieces of land, which consist of Ysterplaat, Culemborg, Youngsfield, Wingfield and Denel in Cape Town, it could potentially yield 93 817 affordable housing units,” said Premier Zille.

“I will continue to advocate for the release of this land, for this purpose, just as I did between 2006 and 2009, while I was still mayor of Cape Town,” she wrote.

The Premier said the Province was demonstrating its commitment by using a provincial piece of land – the 22-hectare site of the old Conradie hospital close to the inner city – for affordable housing on a mixed-use, cross-subsidised basis.

“[The Conradie hospital 22-hectare site] is truly a game changer, because it is pioneering sustainable land reform where it is most needed. We just need to dramatically escalate the numbers involved, and for this we need large tracts of land owned by national government in Cape Town,” said Premier Zille.

The global trend of urbanisation should place the land reform spotlight firmly on urban land and housing.

Premier Zille said the continued growth of employment in Cape Town – which has increased year-on-year by 77 000 according to StatsSA’s latest data – is serving as a draw card to citizens in both the province’s drought impacted rural areas, as well as from other parts of the country.

“Land expropriation without compensation will not address unemployment. A stable political environment with clear policies will attract investors, grow the economy and create jobs, giving people the ability to acquire their own homes, instead of waiting for a free house,” said Premier Zille.

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