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Monday Aug 24, 2020

Plans to renew King David Mowbray Golf Club's lease slammed

With more Cape Town-owned land up for lease renewal to a golf club, housing activists have said the Mowbray site should be considered for affordable housing, the need for which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The City was considering an application to renew the King David Mowbray Golf Club's lease for another 10 years, with a rental of R11 500 a year, or R950 per month, according to advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU).

The latest lease renewal application comes amid the processing of the Rondebosch Golf Course's application.
That land occupies about 45 full-size soccer fields, which activists said could be used to build 2 500 new homes.

NU has launched an online petition calling on residents to object to the lease renewal.
Organisation researcher Michael Clark said plans to renew the lease in both cases was short-sighted, as there was no reason why the two could not be used for affordable housing.

"The land is City-owned, which the City is holding on behalf of the public. The City has an obligation to address spatial injustice and inequality. The land is leased out for decades at a time, while redress is needed," Clark said.

The City has seen a spike in land occupations since last month with 21500 pegs used to plot out sites for land occupation as well as 4500 structures removed in the Bloekombos area in Kraaifontein alone.

More vacant land has been occupied
"The land is leased out for decades at a time, while redress is needed Michael Clark Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher in Delft, Mitchells Plain, Dunoon, Milnerton and attempts were made to occupy various projects and land earmarked for services in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni.

Since July 11, there have been 104 protest actions logged, with 46 injuries to City staff, 32 government and private vehicles damaged and 84 arrests.
City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said both the King David Mowbray Golf Club and Rondebosch Golf Course's applications were still following due process.

The King David Mowbray Golf Club's proposed lease renewal is being advertised for public comment; while the recommendations and public comments received on the Rondebosch Golf Course will be presented at sub-council and ultimately City Council for a final determination, Tyhalibongo said.

"The City will give fair and proper consideration to each comment received. In terms of the process, the City's Property Management branch will make a recommendation taking into account public comment," he said.

In answering NUs challenge that the land can be used instead to address the housing crisis in the metro, Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said "the City continues to assess City-owned land that could be developed".

"All workable options continue to be explored in a balanced and holistic manner and in accordance with due process to see how to increase the affordable accommodation stock in Cape Town or to help enable the provision of more stock in the market. This is an issue that the rest of the country is grappling with too and partnerships are required to tackle the challenges," Booi said.

Separately, judgment in the legal challenge of the Western Cape provincial government's decision to sell the well-located Tafelberg property to a private buyer, the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School, for R135 million, is expected in the next two weeks, Reclaim the City (RTC) said.

"The Tafelberg site in Sea Point – almost an entire city block – provides a prime opportunity to redress spatial apartheid through the provision of well-located public land for social housing.

"This judgment has the potential to have a far-reaching impact on Cape Town's housing crisis and determine how available well-located public land could be used to address crucial social needs," RTC said.

Cape Times 19 Aug 2020 FRANCESCA VILLETTE


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