Premier urges release of state-owned land for housing

WESTERN Cape premier Helen Zille last week called for the release of several mega-properties that can be developed for affordable housing in the Cape Town metro.
The properties are owned by the national government, and are all well-located for affordable housing.
Writing in her Daily Maverick column, the premier said these properties would facilitate the kind of land reform that would build, rather than break, South Africa’s economy.
“Should national government release its five large pieces of land, which consist of Ysterplaat, Culemborg, Youngsfield, Wingfield, and Denel in Cape Town, it could potentially yield 93,817 affordable housing units,” said Zille.
“I will continue to advocate for the release of this land, for this purpose, just as I did between 2006 and 2009, while I was still mayor of Cape Town,” she wrote.
The premier said the province was demonstrating its commitment by using a provincial piece of land - the 22-hectare site of the old Conradie Hospital close to the inner city - for affordable housing on a mixed-use, cross-subsidised basis.
“The site is truly a game changer, because it is pioneering sustainable land reform where it is most needed. We just need to dramatically escalate the numbers involved, and for this we need large tracts of land owned by national government in Cape Town,” said Zille.
The global trend of urbanisation should place the land reform spotlight firmly on urban land and housing.
Premier Zille said the continued growth of employment in Cape Town, which has increased year-on-year by 77,000 according to Stats SA’s latest data, is serving as a draw card to citizens in both the province’s drought impacted rural areas, as well as from other parts of the country.
“Land expropriation without compensation will not address unemployment. A stable political environment with clear policies will attract investors, grow the economy and create jobs, giving people the ability to acquire their own homes, instead of waiting for a free house,” Zille concluded.
• The question to ponder for our purposes is this: How much land belonging to CX Country’s municipalities is under-utilised and could be developed for housing and the general upliftment of our seasonal economy?
On the subject of especially farmland being expropriated without compensation, reader ‘PD’ from Plett contributed the following: “Peasant farming feeds peasants; commercial farming feeds a nation - take your pick.”