STATEMENT FROM BRETT HERRON, GOOD MEMBER OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT AND SECRETARY GENERAL OF GOOD
6 August 2019
DA run CAPE TOWN BLOCKS GROUP AREAS ACT REDRESS AND REVEALS TRUE COLOURS
Cancelling affordable inner city housing projects stops integration in its tracks.
Last year I resigned from the DA after it became clear that the people who counted in the party were not committed to integrated development. They believe, in short, that the people of Bonteheuwel and Khayelitsha – and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren – belong in Bonteheuwel and Khayelitsha, if not even further away from the city and its most desirable suburbs.
It is an unsustainable recipe to deepen inequity and division.
Former National Party members were elected by the DA leadership to replace me and mayor Patricia De Lille following our resignations from the City. These people have less than no interest in integration, and nor, seemingly, do their so-called liberal colleagues.
The Western Cape Property Development Forum yesterday confirmed it has been informed that five affordable housing projects in Woodstock and the inner city have been cancelled by the City of Cape Town. This follows the cancellation of the Foreshore Freeway project, which also included inner city affordable housing, as well as delays to the affordable housing project at the Salt River Market.
Each time the City succeeds in blocking spatial justice it also succeeds in building resentment and anger.
Yet, ironically, those who would benefit most from a sustainable and integrated city are those most heavily invested in property, who happen to be the same class of people from which the DA derives its support.
Former Mayor Patricia de Lille and I launched the Inner City Affordable Housing project in September 2017. A total of 11 sites were identified for development, and calls for proposals were issued in respect of five of them. 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 as well as the impact of gentrification.
The response from the private sector and private developers was very encouraging, but from the moment the bids were received my team experienced what can only be described as technical and/or procedural stonewalling by the city and DA leadership. At one point, a senior official raised the absurd suggestion that “housing is not a city mandate”. On another occasion, housing officials were sent packing because the committee that considered disposals had changed their report template.
Meanwhile the property development and construction sectors, large employers of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, are haemorrhaging jobs.
The cancellation by the City of the Request for Proposals for the City Affordable Housing Project two years after the call for proposals is a massive setback for integration, and to all who would dream of a sustainable post-apartheid city.
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