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STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, COUNCILLOR MALUSI BOOI

Earlier this week, the Planning Appeals Advisory Committee supported a decision by the Municipal Planning Tribunal to approve the rezoning application for the Salt River Market site after dismissing the two appeals that were lodged. This allows for a mixed-use development on the site and will include 216 social housing units in addition to business and retail space. Read more below:

Today, 18 August 2019, I am standing on the site where the development will take place as a tangible demonstration of the commitment by the City of Cape Town’s administrative and political leadership to help drive the development of more affordable and social housing opportunities in Cape Town’s urban centres.

Next steps

Spatial development approval and then the drawing up and approval of buildings plans are the next steps. These processes happen in parallel and include the detailed design of the development, funding applications, the process to release the land and the procurement of the contractor, among others.

The application for the rezoning of the site was approved by the Municipal Planning Tribunal in April 2019. The appeals period expired in June 2019. Two appeals were lodged. The appeals report was referred to the Planning Appeals Advisory Committee for a decision and the appeals were rejected on 13 August 2019 on the basis of not being relevant to the zoning aspects.

The approved rezoning application for the Salt River Market site will provide for 723 residential units of which 216 will be social housing opportunities for qualifying beneficiaries as well as business premises and informal trading and 119 parking bays.

The rezoning of the site consolidates 13 erven into a larger piece of land which will better enable development. The developer now has five years to act on the rights that have been obtained. This includes the construction of buildings between 25 and 38 meters in height with the inclusion of a carriageway to allow for street parking on Bromwell Street and access from Foundry Road.

Applicants earning more than R3 500 and less than R20 000 per month may qualify. These are residents who would not necessarily qualify for a bond from a bank.

It must be emphasised that the City never cancelled this development and the decision now includes the land use rights that are required for the development of the site.

New direction requires partnerships

We are very glad to be celebrating our overall progress after many years of setting in motion this new direction for the City to help it navigate the challenges brought about by rapid urbanisation.

Partnerships remain vital. We will never manage to do what we have to do if we all stand in our corners and move in different directions. All tiers of government, the civil society, residents, businesses, political parties and media partners must start to assist so that we can form a consolidated front for the establishment of more affordable housing options in Cape Town, as is also required across South Africa.

Illegal occupation hijacks our future

These developments are so important that one must emphasise that the illegal occupation of buildings and land across the metro, and in many other urban areas in South Africa creates far more problems than solutions. These actions are illegal.

The City’s Human Settlements Directorate is expected to deliver projects to the value of almost R2,7 billion over the next three years as part of its continued efforts to improve the lives of Cape Town’s more vulnerable residents. Ongoing land invasions, the illegal occupation of buildings and calls by some to invade land or illegally occupy State-, City- or privately-owned land and buildings hold great risks for housing delivery in Cape Town.

Illegal invasions and the occupation of property that does not belong to the occupiers or where no permission has been given for them to occupy is illegal. These actions illegal and they cause more harm than good.

The high jacking of buildings through the illegal occupation of City- and other government-owned properties is becoming a trend, not only within the Cape Town metro but nationwide too. This cannot be tolerated since it directly impacts on the provision of housing within our city. The City will take whatever actions are necessary to prevent the illegal occupation of its property.

Affordable housing pledge

The City, as one of the stakeholders, remains committed to driving more affordable and social housing opportunities around Cape Town’s city centres on suitable sites such as the Salt River Market site, the Woodstock Hospital site and the Pine Road site, as well as other suitable areas across the city while following due process. For instance, the Woodstock Hospital site has been earmarked for social housing opportunities but the planning of these opportunities can only formally commence once the acquisition of the property from the Western Cape Government has been approved by Council.

The City has commissioned a feasibility analysis for the redevelopment of the Woodstock Hospital. A team of construction consultants is busy with the analysis and the City is awaiting the outcome of this analysis.

However, the development of the Woodstock Hospital is under severe pressure due to the illegal occupation of the building, despite the City obtaining an interdict to prevent further illegal occupation.

Assessment of land continues

The City will continue to assess City-owned land, including suitable land in and near the Cape Town CBD, to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for housing opportunities.

Cape Town is a place for all. We are committed to inclusivity and will keep on exploring all possibilities to provide more affordable housing opportunities for our residents.

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