Social Housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi said in the Tafelberg court case that it was seeking a court order declaring that the province has failed to use its public land to advance spatial justice.
“This land is underused, considering it is in the heart of the city centre close to the best jobs, good infrastructure and services. There are more than three public schools within a 300m radius.
“Province could tender the land to a social housing company at a nominal fee and include market-rate apartments, or even some shops and offices to ensure the social housing is viable,” said Ndifuna Ukwazi co-director Jared Rossouw. Rossouw said Province did not have a comprehensive vision for integrating the inner city
“And while there is a lot of big talk, its actions show that it is committed to maintaining the status quo. It has failed to manage its land properly or invest in models which would see smaller parcels of public land developed in partnership with social housing companies,” he said
Moray Place is 16000m² of public land in Oranjezicht that is owned by the provincial department of transport and public works. Small portions of the site are used for existing housing, a school field, and a private soccer club while the bulk is vacant and underutilised.
The site is zoned for development and is highly suitable for mixed-income housing.
The province stated in Tafelberg court papers nearly three years ago that Moray Place was in the housing pipeline.
The department provided additional plans to Reclaim the City. They said they would provide housing on Moray Place.
“Apparently social housing at Moray Court in Oranjezicht has been considered. The project is in pre-planning stage and the cabinet has not approved it.
“It’s another example of a plan for housing masquerading as actual housing. Until bricks and mortar are put into the ground, it remains just an idea,” Rossouw said.
Details of the department’s plans were revealed in court papers when Reclaim the City was involved in a legal battle with the province over its decision to sell the Tafelberg property, in defiance of calls to develop it into low-income housing.
The proceeds from the sale would be used to complete the upgrade of the provincial government building in Dorp Street.
Reclaim the City wanted the Tafelberg property developed into affordable inner-city housing.
MEC for Transport and Public Works Donald Grant said: “As the department, we are doing our best to provide housing and I have spoken to their leadership.
“Once I have received Ndifuna Ukwazi’s court papers I will respond accordingly.”