Cape Town – In a victory for social housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi, the Municipal Planning Tribunal sent the developer of a controversial development in Albert Road, Woodstock back to the drawing board.
The application was brought by Signatura Property Development to build an additional 82 units on top of the existing development comprising the Woodstock Exchange. The development received objections for excluding inclusionary housing and contributing to gentrification in the Woodstock and Salt River areas.
Reclaim the City Woodstock Chapter leader Karen Hendricks said: “The development we are referring to, at the heart of it, is to the exclusion of coloured and black people living in the city. Because of this historical displacement of communities of the inner city, we feel that inclusionary housing would remedy spatial injustice.”
Hendricks said in order to afford a one-bedroom flat in the development, a household would have to earn a minimum of R36781 per month. Only 6.6% of coloured households could afford this flat.
“For whom is this development and who will benefit if it excludes poor and working-class people who have survived the Group Areas Act and apartheid? This development affects the livelihood, the sense of belonging, the unique identity and the self reliance of this long-standing Woodstock community of poor and working-class people, because this further alienates them,” she said.
A Signatura Property Development representative told the tribunal: “It is important to note that this is an existing building that we are adding on top so nobody is being displaced or moved out of their houses.
“With regard to affordable housing, the City has no supporting guidelines or policies as to how it should be incorporated into developments.
“A private landowner cannot be expected to provide housing where government is lacking in its responsibility,” he said, refusing to give his name.
At the centre of the robust discussion was the City’s failure to implement its inclusionary housing policy.
Chairperson of the tribunal Sydney Holden decided that Ndifuna Ukwazi and the developer sit down and engage about the potential of affordable housing within the development.
Attorney for Ndifuna Ukwazi, Jonty Cogger said: “It’s quite alarming that the case officers at the City are not taking spatial justice seriously in Cape Town.
“I hope that there will be true accountability and that we come to a fair and reasonable decision.”