Cape Town Banks on Restructuring to Boost Affordable Housing

The City of Cape Town wants the whole city to be declared a restructuring zone, allowing for any suitable land to be used for affordable housing. It announced that $7.77b was needed for another 650 000 housing opportunities over the next 20 years.

Brett Herron, a mayoral committee member for transport and urban development referred to the undertaking as an enormous task that a radical shift in financing and planning strategies and delivery methods.

According to the Social Housing Act of 2008, the national human settlements minister designates a restructuring zone following identification by a municipality. Herron said the availability of affordable rental accommodation in central areas of the city play a key role in the future development Cape Town.

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

The city’s restructuring zones were approved in 2010, after the promulgation of the Social Housing Act with the intention of reversing the spatial legacy of apartheid planning.

When the Western Cape government announced last Wednesday that it would sell the Tafelberg property to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School on account of being outside the restructuring zone, it meant the property did not qualify for the national subsidy to build social housing units.

Proceeds of the sale of the Tafelberg School would be used for the renovation of a governmental building in Dorp Street.

In a statement made earlier on this week, Reclaim the City said it had instructed its lawyers to fight the sale of the Tafelberg property in the Constitutional Court, hoping to prevent the beneficiaries of racial discrimination-mainly white people- from continuous access, ownership and occupation of well-located public land.

Reclaim the City is a subsidiary of the non-profit organisation, Ndifuna Ukwazi, and advocates for the construction of affordable housing in central Cape Town.

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