22 October 2020
The City of Cape Town has granted in-principle approval of the Rondebosch Golf Club lease renewal, stating that the area is “not suitable for housing purposes at this point” and that it has “severe development constraints”. The decision by the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee was made on 20 October, with a final decision to be made by the City Council on 29 October.
Activists and residents of Cape Town have opposed the lease renewal, insisting that the land should be used to build affordable housing. In February, GroundUp reported that activists from Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City marched onto the golf course to demand the use of the land for affordable housing. And in early 2019, GroundUp reported that the Rondebosch Golf Club pays the City R1,000 a year to use the 45 hectares of land (which is roughly the size of 45 rugby fields).
In its statement announcing the lease renewal from 20 October, the City of Cape Town noted that it had received 1,682 objections from the public to the lease renewal. The City also said that the objections mainly concerned the “use of the site for housing, addressing spatial inequality, and the golf course tariff”.
In a statement objecting to this decision by the City, activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi said that the decision is “blindingly shortsighted” and that “redistribution of public land should … promote spatial, racial and economic inclusivity”.
Ndifuna Ukwazi said that it has campaigned for the City to develop a mixed-income neighbourhood, with a large portion dedicated to affordable housing, as well as offices, shops, and social amenities. The campaign by Ndifuna Ukwazi has also received support from Reclaim the City, the Social Justice Coalition, and Amandla.mobi.
The City said, however, that the Rondebosch Golf Club drives many economic benefits through golf tourism and also creates employment opportunities. It also said that the golf course is situated in a wetland, making it prone to flooding.
The City noted that a two-year cancellation clause has been included in the lease agreement if its position on the feasibility of building housing does change.