Combatting Cape Town's housing crisis

Twenty-six years after apartheid, Cape Town remains deeply divided along race and class lines. It’s clear that state-subsidised housing has done little to redress spatial apartheid, with housing delivery failing to keep pace with the considerable backlog. This has led to a housing crisis, in terms of which hundreds of thousands of poor and working-class families have been forced to live in peripheral townships, backyard shacks and informal settlements. These poor living conditions, coupled with high rates of unemployment, trap the poor and working class in a cycle of poverty.

In light of this, a group of civil society organizations and academics have urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately release three large, well-located and vacant military sites in Cape Town for the development of low-income housing.

In his address to the nation on 20 April, President Cyril Ramaphosa in fact said: “There can be no greater injustice than a society where some live in comfort and plenty, while others struggle at the margins to survive with little or nothing at all.”

Nowhere is this injustice clearer than in access to land and housing. So why is the state not using well-located urban land which it owns to house people in this time of crisis? Is this feasible…if not, why not?

That’s our Burning Issue tonight.

On the line this evening is:
-Adi Kumar, executive director at the Development Action Group
-Charlton Ziervogel from the Community Organisation Resource Centre
-Later on, we have human settlements MEC Tertius Simmers
-As well as Councillor Malusi Booi, Mayco Member for Human Settlements at the City of Cape Town

Unfortunately, we had attempted to reach the Department of Public Works and Human Settlements, but they did not respond to our request