At least seven vacant plots have been identified as “possible sites for social and affordable housing” in Cape Town‘s southern suburbs, including Parkwood, Lotus River and Retreat.
The announcement was made by Thando Mguli, head of the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, GroundUp reported.
In May, hundreds of Parkwood backyarders protested over the lack of housing in the area, resulting in overcrowding. They also complained that those living in the City’s rental flats often have to pay high fees for rent, electricity and water. The protest erupted in violence when the group, erecting shacks on vacant land in the area, clashed with police.
On Tuesday, Parkwood community leaders were shown a map with the seven plots marked. Bernie Wentzel, project manager in the City’s Department of Human Settlements, said four of the seven erfs were City-owned land. “All of these portions will still have to be rezoned because they are not residential at the moment,” he said.
He added that, while some of the sites were affected by flood lines and road reserve issues, they were feasible sites. Mguli said a team consisting of engineers, planners and designers would be appointed by the end of the week to assess the seven sites. Phila Mayisela, chief director of implementation in the provincial department, said that R48-billion was needed to tackle the City’s housing backlog of over 300 000.
Mayisela said they could not commit to a timeline until the sites had been assessed. She asked that the group return in a month when more details could be given. In order for the development of the sites to work, Mguli said they also needed the support of residents living in formal houses in the surrounding areas. When asked for more details on the exact locations of the plots, Mguli told Parkwood community leaders to give their assurances that residents would not occupy the sites.
“We don’t want to have a situation where these very same land parcels are invaded tomorrow. We need you to help us protect that land.” Mguli also confirmed that land in Ottery, which was not included in the province’s list, was also being considered for development.