Salt River social housing land deal put on ice

Cape Argus
26 Oct 2018

WAS going to be a momentous occasion for social housing and attempts to roll back gentrification in Salt River.

But instead the DA controlled city council sent a multimillion-rand project backed by Communicare and social housing activist groups back to the mayoral committee. The city council proposed that social housing giant Communicare buy the land from the city council well below its market price. The 1.7ha of land, currently valued at R144 million, for R1.8m to build a R715m high-rise building.

In exchange, 300 of the 850 housing units in Salt River would be allocated to social housing – reserved for households with a monthly income of between R1 500 and R15 000.

“We would like to recommend that this be sent back for further technical clarification. We want to do this properly and to ensure we can handle a project of this magnitude,” Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie said.

Co-director at Ndifuna Ukwazi Jared Rossouw said: “Considering how long it has taken to get to this point and the amount of work that has gone in to making this project feasible, we need clear and good answers why council has kicked this into the long grass again.”

Reclaim the City chapter leader of Woodstock Deena Boscha said: “We are very angry. The need for social housing in the inner city has to be made a reality.”

Communicare chief executive Antha Houston said: “We are shocked that the city council sent the project back for further clarification since they have been engaging us on the project for years and it meets all the requirements they had specified to us.”

THE article “City accused of not using vacant land” , published on October 19, contains certain inaccuracies.
Moquet Farm is in Diep River, not Heathfield, and is closest to the suburb of Meadowridge, the estates of Oakridge, Morning Star and The Vines.
Elfindale and Bergvliet are a bit further away and separate the land under discussion from Retreat.
Plumstead is probably closer to Moquet Farm than Retreat.
The land is centrally located on Main Road within the Diep River “CBD”.

The statement that civic associations (plural) are demanding the land be used for housing is also misleading.
The Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers Association had not been consulted by the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance despite being the civic association being most closely situated to the land.
It is the view of the Bergvliet/ Meadowridge Ratepayers Association that while the need for social housing indeed exists, the Moquet Farm size and location is more appropriate for a commercial mixed use development, which will create employment opportunities to service Diep River and surrounding communities. MARK SCHAFER
Chairperson of Bergvliet Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association

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