On Wednesday, the City of Cape Town announced a new plan for future affordable housing developments. All of the sites are within 5km of the city centre and have good access to public transport. The City estimates that the final developments should benefit at least 4,000 lower-income households. The Woodstock Hospital site is among the areas marked for development.
Housing activist Zackie Achmat wrote on his Facebook page: “Today, a real thank you to Mayor Patricia de Lille and Mayoral Committee member Brett Herron. … No negativity from comrades today. Celebrate your own role in this.”
My family lives in Salt River but I cannot afford to rent in Salt River/Woodstock area so I am really happy to see there are people making a real effort to keep the area as diverse as possible.
It is not good that we have a growing divide between the rich and poor areas. It is in the interest of those who are more fortunate to look out and include the less fortunate. So a big thank you to all those that are working towards this tirelessly. We love our city and the areas we grew up in, went to school and where we have numerous family members.
This really makes me feel excited to see this project put into fruition. Good luck and please keep us informed on the progress.
Thanks to all activists who made this possible!
We must be vigilant in the process of the development. We must never ever be complacent as the free market always makes it easier for those who have access to capital.
On announcing the City’s “new” approach and plan towards to housing delivery – including reference to the thirteen sites earmarked for affordable city housing – Mayoral Committee member Brett Herron cautioned that “What I was talking about today is not going to happen overnight, unfortunately”.
His caution is justified. The thirteen sites referred to were first identified for use as affordable housing in the late 1980s and early nineties, when BP Southern Africa established Headstart, tasked to explore urban “renewal” in District Six, Woodstock, and Salt River. A key focus was affordable housing and increased security of tenure for inhabitants. Headstart, which included the eminent South African urbanists David Dewar, Roelof Uytenbogaardt, and Lucien Le Grange, prepared extensive inventories of land and made relatively detailed proposals for rehabilitation and improvement within the whole area (Springfield Terrace is a Headstart “legacy” project). Furthermore, some of the agreements made with Social Housing Institutions referred to has been in place for many years.
Arguably, since then, Cape Town’s poor performance in providing affordable inner city housing has little to do with available land, community support, or professional commitment and planning for land available. The issue – common to different political regimes – is simply a lack of political will.
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