Premier Zille Welcomes Waterfront Affordable Housing Greenlight
Premier Helen Zille has welcomed the greenlight for affordable housing close to the V&A Waterfront.
This follows the Rezoning Approval received by the Provincial Government to develop affordable housing on one of South Africa’s most valuable state-owned properties – the Somerset Precinct in Cape Town CBD.
The City of Cape Town’s Planning Tribunal approved the Province’s application today.
“The plan is to develop over 300 affordable housing units on the Helen Bowden Nurses Home portion of the precinct. This is just the start. We are committed to maximising affordable housing on the remainder of the precinct, which has been our position from day one. This rezoning approval enables us to do that,” said Premier Zille.
The fact that the tribunal has recommended a condition that the Province must consider increasing the number of residential units as well as the number of social housing opportunities that can be accommodated within the overall residential components of each phase, is also welcomed and will form part of feasibility studies, applicable to each release going forward.
The Provincial Government has pioneered the Better Living Model, which enables affordable housing to be built at scale by means of cross-subsidization. The Province intends to apply this model at the Somerset Precinct.
The rezoning approval enables the Somerset Precinct to take its place amongst the Province’s flagship affordable housing projects, including the Conradie hospital site in an inner city feeder suburb. The Belhar CBD development is also proceeding well into its 2nd phase.
“We remain concerned about the illegal occupation of Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home. This remains a real threat to our ability to proceed with affordable housing,” said Premier Zille.
The Premier added that reports of rampant criminality at the site were very concerning. This is alleged to be occurring due to fights over dominance of access amongst factions in the illegal occupants.
The Premier has written to SAPS Provincial Commissioner Khombinkosi Jula requesting that he investigate these allegations urgently.
“We have received affidavits detailing violence and mob activity at Helen Bowden which it is alleged SAPS are failing to act on. It is further alleged that this is being coordinated by individuals - purporting to be so-called activists - who are intimidating and beating people on the premises,” said Zille.
Reclaim the City and Ndifuna Ukwazi - the parties that initially publically called for the illegal occupation of the Helen Bowden nurses home - today voiced their support of the Provincial plans to redevelop this site with a strong social housing component.
“It is hoped that they will now ensure that the illegal occupation comes to a swift end, and will do what they can to prevent further acts of violence being perpetrated in the name of activism at this site,” said Premier Zille.