City has been pioneer in social housing; central city projects under way

16 Jul 2022 in Where We Govern

Various City of Cape Town social housing projects, in partnership with social housing institutions are under way in the central city as well as other parts of the metro where the need is. Next week, the Mayoral Committee is expected to recommend to Council the handover of the Salt River Market social housing site to the social housing partner for the start of construction.

Under way:

  • City-supported/enabled projects with developer nearing construction phase include Pine Road (+/- 240  units) and Dillon Road (+/- 150 units) in Woodstock; Salt River Market (+/- 200 units)
  • Projects undergoing land use management processes to be made available for social housing include New Market (+/- 200 units); Pickwick (+/- 600 units); and Woodstock Hospital (+/-700 units).
  • The first precinct in Parow (+/- 350 units) for release to the market within the current year.
  • City-supported/enabled with developer Maitland (+/- 200 units) is under construction.

The City currently has more than 6 500 social housing units in the overall pipeline across 50 land parcels city-wide, including 2 000 social housing units in the central Cape Town area. There are also 2 500 opportunities nearing completion or about to begin construction along the Voortrekker Road Corridor and near important economic nodes. We call on all partners to join our movement for more social housing, affordable housing and mixed-use development.

Western Cape Government driven projects, supported by the City, include the Conradie Park development in the inner city feeder suburb of Pinelands, Founders Garden, and Helen Bowden Nurses Home in Green Point. All have significant potential for social housing unit yields.

The City has been a pioneer in the development of a social housing programme.

Social housing happens in a very heavily regulated environment with various pieces of legislation applicable.

For instance, mostly, a full disposal programme in terms of the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations must be met, development packaging must be done, and this includes a likely myriad development legislation such as rezoning if applicable and statutory timeframes.

The City launched its Land Release Programme as a priority programme of Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis at its Housing Indaba in April 2022. It aims to unlock and drive the potential for a large-scale public private sector affordable housing programme and much work has been done since the launch a few months ago.

It focuses on:

  1. A more fluid and rapid pipeline of land release for social housing
  2. Identifying large mixed-use sites for private sector development
  3. Unlocking the massive potential of micro-developers
  4. Developing an enabling environment to accelerate land release

The Land Release Programme is part of our efforts to build Cape Town, our City of Hope, together.

The City’s land release for housing is however not sufficient on its own. National Government must come to the party. We continue to call on National Government to release its large pieces of suitable land to the City for the development of affordable housing. National Government sits on the largest well-located mega-properties in Cape Town for housing – with a yield of potentially over 100 000 units. These properties include Wingfield and the completely under-utilised sprawling parliamentary village of Acacia Park.

The need for more affordable housing for those earning up to R22 000 per month, is unique to Cape Town but it is a challenge. Therefore, the City developed its Human Settlements Strategy, which looks at how to deliver more affordable housing, in partnership, at scale and with innovation.

The broadening of the City’s strategic role from regulator to greater enabler of affordable housing, in partnership with all role players, including emerging developers, traditional private developers, social housing partners, and households themselves, is critical to meeting an increasing demand for affordable housing.

Building hijacking

One of our major constraints in accelerating the pipeline of affordable housing – especially on certain inner city sites – is the cost and time burden of unlawful occupation, and the lengthy court processes the City has to follow to unlock otherwise suitable land. Securing land and buildings also presents a significant cost burden over time, but it is essential to protect valuable land for affordable housing development.

The orchestrated building hi-jackings of March 2017 by Ndifuna Ukwazi under the Reclaim the City banner in particular have delayed flagship social housing projects in central Cape Town. We are determined to fast-track this social housing through the correct legal channels.

For more information on the City’s Human Settlements Strategy visit: