Just when South Africans are discussing the motion that calls for constitutional review to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, Ndifuna Ukwazi, an activist group is calling for the leasing of land in Sea Point for low-cost housing while the City of Cape Town wants to lease it to sports clubs.
Ndifuna Ukwazi, an NGO campaigning for low cost housing near the city, is concerned about how public land is treated by the City of Cape Town depending on where it is and who wants to use it. This follows the City’s proposed lease of a portion of Erf 1056, Bill Peters Drive, Sea Point.
On Erf 1056 are old run-down tennis courts by Sea Point Police Station that the City is proposing to lease to sports clubs.
“The City advertised the intention to lease out two portions of land, namely, the old Crusaders Memorial Sports Club and the three tennis courts which were previously part of the Three Anchor Bay Tennis Club.
“The intention is to lease the two portions together via a tender process for the purpose of developing a multi-purpose sports complex which could include but is not limited to mini-soccer, tennis and skateboarding,” says Councillor Stuart Diamond, Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management, in an email response.
Diamond claims that they want to establish an environment for a variety of sporting codes that can accommodate both traditional and modern sports such as paragliding, running, cycling and mountain climbing. The proposed usage is in line with the Green Point Common Record of Decision dated 30 June 2008, he says.
Ndifuna Ukwazi, on the other hand, feels the proposed lease is not the highest and best use of the public land.
“This land has the potential to accommodate a good amount of affordable housing and we understand that the law requires the City to prioritise service delivery over other uses, which becomes especially important when combined with its obligation to advance spatial justice,” says Jared Rossouw from Ndifuna Ukwazi.
He proposes that the land is better suited to for lease to a social housing company, or another form of public tender for affordable housing, similar to the recent call for proposals that has been issued for Woodstock, Salt River and the inner city.
Rossouw feels land is at the heart of transformation and where one lives in the city matters because it determines the opportunities you have, the services you can access, and enjoyment of almost every other constitutional right.
“In a housing crisis, it cannot be business as usual – every parcel must come under scrutiny,” says Rossouw. Cape Town is one of the least integrated cities in the world, divided by race and class. By leasing the Sea Point land to sports clubs the City is missing an opportunity to address spatial inequality.
Ndifuna Ukwazi objected to the sale of the Tafelberg school site for some private development in order to raise the critical need for low-cost housing in Sea Point.