Cape Town’s drastic plan for affordable housing

30 March 2017

The City of Cape Town wants the whole city to be declared a restructuring zone, which will allow for any suitable land to be used for social housing.It announced on Tuesday that about R101-billion was needed for another 650 000 housing opportunities over the next 20 years.

“Addressing such a scale of need requires a radical shift in our financing and planning strategies and delivery methods,” mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said.A restructuring zone is a demarcated area where a national subsidy can be used to build social housing.

According to the Social Housing Act of 2008, the national human settlements minister designates a restructuring zone following identification by a municipality.

“There are opportunities for affordable housing in many areas across the metro, and the development and availability of affordable rental accommodation in central areas of the city must play a key role in the future development of Cape Town,” Herron said.”Currently, however, the city cannot get access to social housing grants from national government unless suitable land is located within a restructuring zone.”

If the whole city was declared a restructuring zone, it would speed up the development of affordable housing. This was however subject to the Western Cape government and the national minister’s approval.

Herron announced the plan after Reclaim the City activists occupied Woodstock Hospital and the Helen Bowden Nurses Home on Saturday in response to the provincial government’s plan to sell the Tafelberg school property in Sea Point. Provincial government said the land could not be developed into social housing as it fell outside the current restructuring zone. This meant it did not qualify for the national subsidy to build social housing units.

Reclaim the City said it had instructed its lawyers to fight the sale of the Tafelberg property in the Constitutional Court.Reclaim the City is a subsidiary of the NPO, Ndifuna Ukwazi, and advocates for the construction of affordable housing in central Cape Town. 


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