Reclaim the City’s Self-Serving Protest Shows They Are Not Honest with Public
Media Statement: Reclaim the City’s Self-Serving Protest Shows They Are Less Than Honest with the Public
Following the Western Cape Cabinet's announcement of affordable housing projects for larger and better sites than Tafelberg, Reclaim the City has embarked on another self-serving protest today.
Reclaim the City is being less than honest with the public about the extensive affordable housing projects in the pipeline, spearheaded by the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town, both in the inner city and feeder suburbs.
Cabinet's announcement of affordable housing for large Waterfront and Woodstock properties is an inconvenience for Reclaim the City, who have based a campaign on the Tafelberg property, which is not ideally suited for affordable housing due to the requirements of scale, cross subsidisation and government subsidy, none of which pertain to that particular site.
The Waterfront and Woodstock properties are suitable for affordable housing at scale, based on cross subsidisation and with or without a restructuring grant.
By scrambling to stage pickets at the Waterfront and Woodstock properties, Reclaim the City are trying to claim credit for affordable housing decisions taken by the Western Cape Cabinet. Their call to lawlessness shows that they are not prepared to uphold the law when it doesn’t suit their purpose anymore.
The correct facts of the provincial government's commitment to delivering affordable housing are as follows:
- Pipeline projects worth R3.2 billlion and 40 000 potential affordable housing units;
- The Better Living Model Game Changer: mixed-use, mixed-income projects in Pinelands (3600 units), an inner-city feeder suburb, and Belhar CBD (3000 units) -both of which are well served by public transport; and
- The conclusion of an MOU between Human Settlements and Public Works, in terms of which pockets of inner city land have been identified for transfer and use by Human Settlements for affordable housing.
Cabinet's express commitment to affordable housing, including the overall pipeline of projects and the Waterfront/Woodstock decisions, was one of the material factors taken into account when considering the Tafelberg sale.
Reclaim the City can have their allegation that Cabinet’s decision is unlawful tried and tested in a court of law, but it appears that this method of resolution is now not good enough for them.
Today’s actions follow an announcement on social media by Reclaim the City that its members propose an “occupation” of provincial properties as a response to the decision of cabinet. These actions are motivated on the basis that Reclaim the City does not believe that the provincial government’s commitments to social housing in the City are “real”, and on this basis has elected to urge its members to take the law into their own hands.
Reclaim the City profess to uphold the rule of law but are acting outside of it today because that is now what suits them. Rather than proceed to court, they now court anarchy as the solution to achieve their purpose.
Their call for media attention and their alleged “expectation” of SAPS involvement reveal a more cynical motivation to capture a news cycle by whatever means possible, even if that is unlawful and will result in persons potentially being charged, and scarce state resources being utilised.
When any organisation is of the view that it, rather than the owning organ of state, or the courts, is the only one which can make informed policy-laden decisions of this nature, then it is time to question whose purposes that organisation really serves.