Cape Town – A new multi-billion development taking shape on the Foreshore along Christiaan Barnard Street will, for the first time, see relatively affordable housing included as part of a project which is set to dramatically change the CBD’s skyline.
On Thursday, housing lobby group Ndifuna Ukwazi welcomed an announcement made by Amdec Group that it would include “inclusionary housing” in the R15 billion Harbour Arch development.
The City gave the project, which will include hotels, the green light despite earlier objections from Ndifuna Ukwazi, who had been steadfast in pushing the City and provincial government to use their clout to provide affordable housing close to job opportunities in the city.
Amdec Group chief executive James Wilson said it was offering affordable housing, and not subsidised housing.
“By its definition, affordable housing is aimed at income groups with a combined household income not exceeding approximately R18000 per month. Affordable housing rentals at Harbour Arch will not be greater than 50% of market-related rentals.
“We anticipate that our affordable accommodation at Harbour Arch would be suited to people who are employed within the CBD, like civil servants and municipal workers, as well as people employed at Harbour Arch, like critical service workers, duty managers, security personnel and the like,” he said.
Wilson said the company was not legally obligated to include “inclusionary housing” within its development.
Ndifuna Ukwazi attorney Jonty Cogger said: “The Amdec Group has taken this progressive and important decision in the absence of an inclusionary housing policy guidance to contribute towards much needed affordable housing in the Cape Town CBD. As prominent players in the South African development industry, the inclusion of affordable units within the landmark Harbour Arch development sets a powerful precedent for the development industry broadly.”
The company says it has voluntarily committed to an “inclusionary housing” contribution of 100 out of the 980 residential units, roughly 10%, being reserved as affordable units.
Cogger said: “Ndifuna Ukwazi had objected and appealed to the City granting development approval for this development on the basis that the development would be exclusionary and would not advance the principle of spatial justice, calling for the inclusion of a fair and feasible portion of affordable units”
The Harbour Arch development was initially approved by the Municipal Planning Tribunal in October last year. The matter was then taken on appeal by Ndifuna Ukwazi and several other organisations.
Harbour Arch is set to be built on a 5.8hectares site, with 198 000m² of usable space and six towers. The site will also have two new hotels.
Ndifuna Ukwazi has been calling for the City to implement inclusive housing, which would secure affordable housing in private developments.
Western Cape Property Development Forum chairperson Deon Van Zyl said: “We know that the City is working on this This would provide certainty, the industry just wants to know the rules of the game.”
Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “We are doing a feasibility study and are holding discussions internally with consultants so that we can table something at the portfolio committee meeting. What I am hoping for is for the public participation process on the policy to start early next year.”