SA Affordable Housing January - February 2019 // Issue: 74 - Page 6

NEWS Cape Town’s inner-city housing crisis has been laid bare. says claiming there was a group within the DA that is opposed to social housing in or near the inner city. “They have told the officials, and other politicians, that it is too close to the election to proceed with the project … I find this quite shocking especially given their policy and manifesto promises to integrate communities. It raises a question for me as to how they perceive a DA voter?” he adds. This latter claim was backed up by researcher at Ndifuna Ukwazi, Nick Budlender, who says they had written to Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson who admitted that the ground was earmarked for affordable housing development and had written back to say, “It is our intention to have a mixed-use development which includes affordable housing and will be informed by the outcome of the required statutory processes and the most feasible modelling to ensure a successful development.” Six months after the letter, however, Budlender says nothing has changed. “We would expect selfish, wealthy residents who live nearby to oppose it, but in fact it is the City which lacks the vision and political will to drive this project forward. When it comes to affordable housing in former ‘whites-only’ areas, ground is never broken. This is unacceptable in a housing and segregation crisis,” says Budlender. Since Herron’s departure his replacement Felicity Purchase, wrote a letter to Ndifuna Ukwazi, in which she wrote a near exact response to Neilson’s comments of six months earlier. ‘The intention is to have a mixed-use development which will include affordable housing. The development will be informed by the outcome of the required statutory processes,’ the letter reads. At the same time as these accusations were surfacing the DA laid criminal charges relating to ‘good governance’ 4 JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2019 and ‘conduct’ against De Lille and Herron following an investigation led by law firm Bowman Gilfillan. DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela also held a press conference in which he blamed the delays at the developments on Herron. Madikizela claimed that the various projects were undergoing ‘legal challenges’ and posited a theory that Herron had left when it became obvious he would need to answer questions relating to the Gilfillian report. “There were two other court challenges on projects and we are waiting for the court process to run its course,” he says. “We had some challenges, but we are dealing with them. We are taking action against wrong-doing.” These incidents have brought Cape Town’s inner-city accommodation crisis to head and put the city firmly in the media’s gaze with a new development in historic Bo-Kaap also hitting the front pages. Centrally located Bo-Kaap’s 6 000-strong community has had its roots in the area since the earliest days of Cape Town’s history, but developers are now buying up the land they perceive as cheap to put up luxury developments, which threaten the community’s way of life. Startling images were seen online, TV and in the papers of police firing stun grenades at a small community group – including old ladies – who were trying to stop a crane from making its way to a new development styles as ‘FORTY ON L’, located at 40 Lion Street. Now an online petition has been created, calling for the recognition and conservation of Bo-Kaap as a unique historical urban landscape with a vibrant, living culture and way of life, among other things. That battle is far from over. The crane that the community tried to stop was delayed, but eventually made its way to Lion Street. It’s clear that as we start off the new year, Cape Town’s fight for affordable housing is only just beginning.