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City Of Cape Town To Start Public Engagements On Its New Human Settlements Strategy

The City of Cape Town will be starting public engagements on its new Human Settlements Strategy.

Starting on Tuesday, the public participation process will last until November 30.

The strategy has been in formulation for almost two years as a means to enable greater partnership, collaboration, inclusivity and innovation in the human settlements sphere.

According to the City, within the next 10 years there will be a shortfall in the development of formal housing opportunities of approximately 30 000 every year – assuming the average annual rate of supply by the private and public sectors remain unchanged.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said: “The consequences of a business as usual approach will be felt in all corners of our society. This is why the City has been doing extensive work for some years to map a way forward to enable greater participation in the housing market.

“Over this time, Cape Town will grow by roughly 800 000 inhabitants. To accommodate this growth as well as manage the existing housing demand, it is estimated that roughly 500 000 housing opportunities need to be created between now and 2028.”

Booi said the provision of basic services was heavily impacted on the degree of informality and where an informal dwelling was situated.

“Urbanisation will continue and the associated growth in informality, especially considering the dire national economic conditions in South Africa. This is not a problem that is unique to Cape Town, but it is perhaps exacerbated by the limited suitable land and topography of Cape Town as a peninsula,” he said.

The proposed strategy recognised the extent of the informal housing that was prevalent within Cape Town.

It argued this informality was partly due to market failure, whereby the cost to produce a house in well-located areas had outstripped the ability of a household to afford it. It also blamed the state, whereby government’s national housing programmes had been unable to keep up with the increasing and widespread housing needs of households, particularly those with a monthly income of R22 000 and below.

The strategy talked to major government reform, and required the government to be more inclusive, more consultative, and more aware of the impact of the human settlements system on households.

Mayor Dan Plato said: “Human settlements delivery is beset with challenges, including R1.3 billion in housing projects under threat from ongoing orchestrated land invasions, national budget cuts reducing our Urban Settlements Development Grant by R118 million this year, a weak economy and regulatory red tape.

“Innovative, partnership-driven and more cost-effective human settlements delivery options are required. While the City on its own cannot build its way out of informality within the foreseeable future, we can innovate within our ambit.”

Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Buhle Neo Booi said they welcomed the process: “We feel these statements have been made before and do not affect ordinary people. We welcome this strategy because they have been operating. There have been targeted legislative means to address the informal settlements.

“There’s a clear disjuncture than what the City says and what’s happening on the ground. They have continued to use land to lease out. They have solely said the land invasions are problematic but the contributing reason behind this is the state’s response.”

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