DA must stop playing politics with land
Yesterday, Matlhodi Maseko, MPP, DA Western Cape Committee Spokesperson on Human Settlements issued a statement in which she asserts that the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is the greatest obstacle to unlocking transformative inner city housing opportunities and that DPWI refuses to hand over the land for housing.
These are blatant lies.
The DA's MMP, Matlhodi Maseko must stop playing politics with land. She is a scripted experiment and must first go and learn how government works. Housing is a concurrent function and the province and the City of Cape Town must use the plenty parcels of land on the province and City's immovable asset register to respond to the need for housing. I will teach the member how to access the asset register and the deeds office.
Both the Western Cape Government as well as the City of Cape Town are sitting on well-located land that will enable them to respond to the need for housing especially affordable housing. But they refuse to integrate the city and bring people of colour closer to well located areas in the city.
They have a legal mandate to provide human settlements and they should look at their own parcels of land and explain to the people of the Western Cape what their plans are for the land that they own and how they will use their land for the benefit of the many people who need housing.
When I was the Mayor, in September 2017, we identified 11 sites in the inner city to be set aside for affordable and social housing initiatives to address the housing need, reverse apartheid spatial planning by bringing working class people closer to the inner city and to deal with the impact of gentrification on working class and poor families.
A total of 11 sites were identified for development, and calls for proposals were issued in respect of five.
The five sites, alone, would have added 4000 social housing rental units to the inner city. It was an unprecedented attempt to mitigate rising unaffordability of accommodation in the inner city, and gentrification.
The request for proposals was put out to the private sector to come up with development proposals which the private sector was very excited about.
Unsurprisingly and sadly in August 2019, the DA-led City of Cape Town cancelled five projects that included affordable housing in Woodstock and Salt River.
The five projects included the Woodstock Hospital site, Woodstock Hospital Park, Pickwick Street, New Market Street and where Fruit & Veg City is located in Roeland Street.
The property developers sector was equally disappointed by this move and said that several developers and consultant teams worked tirelessly to come up with innovative solutions.
Since I became the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, I have been working with Ministers on the Inter Ministerial Committee on Land Reform to fast track any requests to DPWI for land for human settlements purposes across the country.
I have approved the release of 5 parcels of land for human settlements purposes in the Western Cape alone.
The MMP must stop lying and the DA must stop regurgitating the same statement hoping that one day people will believe them. The DA must account on what they are doing with their well-located land to respond to the need for affordable housing.