Does the need for sporting facilities outweigh the need for well-located affordable housing?
NU objects to Bellville Bowls Green and Golf Club lease renewal.
Press Release: 29 November 2022
Public participation for the lease renewal of City of Cape Town land to the Bellville Bowls Green and the Bellville Golf Club closed yesterday. Ndifuna Ukwazi has delivered its objection to the renewal of the leases in favour of developing well-located affordable housing.
“The City is required to demonstrate, with reference to objective supporting documentation, why it believes that the land should be used for sporting and recreational purposes rather than the development of social or affordable housing. It is not clear that the need for sporting purposes outweighs the urgent need for affordable housing, spatial transformation, social inclusivity and desegregation” said Jonty Cogger, attorney for Ndifuna Ukwazi.
NU contends that leasing out these two properties for sports and recreational purposes is irrational, unreasonable, and unacceptable.
“We call on the City to refrain from leasing the Bowling Green and Golf Course and deliver on its promises to develop social and/or affordable housing,” said Cogger
Notably, the objection to renewing the lease on these erven for sports use that will benefit the few is that both sites are well-located in relation to public transport, economic activity, educational opportunities and other amenities. For example, both sites are in close proximity to the Tygerberg Hospital, the largest hospital in the Western Cape and the second largest hospital in South Africa.
The lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic must also be given serious consideration as it has negatively impacted the right of access to adequate housing for many poor and working-class households and, consequently, heightened the urgent need for well-located social and affordable housing.
“According to the second wave of the NIDS-CRAM survey, people living in peri-urban areas were twice as likely to be unemployed than people living in the suburbs, meaning that the need for well-located affordable housing has been exacerbated even further” continued Cogger.
The responsibility to redress spatial apartheid falling to civil society:
Since 2019, Ndifuna Ukwazi has urged the City to establish or delegate a coordinated department responsible for land management with clear powers and responsibilities to proactively manage all its public land to ensure that it meets its broad constitutional and legislative obligations to redistribute land and balance the competing interests of different departments that need access to land.
“The Property Management Department is meant to fulfil this function, but has not done well in coordinating with other departments and ensuring that the City’s redistributive and housing provision obligations are adequately met through providing access to suitable land,” said Cogger.
Judge Gamble stated in the Tafelberg matter:
“[I]t is fair to say that the statutory and policy framework which finds its origins in the Constitution and the legislation mandated thereunder, renders it necessary for both the [Western Cape] Province and the City [of Cape Town] to redress the legacy of spatial apartheid as a matter of constitutional injunction. The constitutional and statutory obligations of these tiers of government to provide access to land and housing on a progressive basis, encompass the need to urgently address apartheid’s shameful and divisive legacy of spatial injustice and manifest inequality.”