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Housing activists doorstep Premier Winde over controversial Sea Point property development


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Housing activists doorstep Premier Winde over controversial Sea Point property development

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde

8th September 2023


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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has promised that the controversial Tafelberg property development in Sea Point will include affordable housing. 

The site has been the subject of a heated court battle between Reclaim the City and the Western Cape government.


The case dates back to 2015 after the provincial government decided to sell prime property in Sea Point, instead of using it for housing.

The provincial government owned the Tafelberg school property and sold it to Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School NPC in November 2015 for R135-million.


But organisations Reclaim The City and Ndifuna Ukwazi, along with several individuals, challenged the move.

In a landmark judgment in 2020, the Western Cape High Court set aside the sale of the property and ordered the province and the City of Cape Town to "address the legacy of apartheid spatial planning in central Cape Town and its surrounds".

But the provincial government last year sought to appeal the High Court ruling. 

The province and the City approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), appealing parts of the judgment. 

The matter was argued before SCA Judges Nambitha Dumbuza, Dumisani Zondi, Ashton Schippers, Daisy Molefe and David Unterhalter.

The SCA reserved judgment in February this year.

On Thursday evening, Winde was doorstepped by activists at the Simonsberg Primary School in Kraaifontein during a First Thursday event. 

Activists from across the Peninsula came out to confront Winde about social housing closer to the CBD. 

They asked Winde for an update on when the Tafelberg site would be released for affordable housing.

In an open letter penned by activists and given to Winde, the group demanded the release of the Tafelberg site for affordable housing in a bid to "undo the pervasive legacy of apartheid".

The letter reads:

"Premier, one of the most tangible solutions to this problem lies in the building of affordable housing on the Tafelberg site.

"The Province’s officials and policymakers must acknowledge the urgency of this issue and take concrete steps to accelerate the development of social housing."

Activists added that building affordable housing which specifically catered to the needs of domestic workers in the inner city would better the living conditions of our families.

"Accelerating the construction of affordable housing in Tafelberg will contribute to a more inclusive, compassionate community. Let us unite to create a future where every individual, regardless of their occupation, has a place they can truly call home," they stressed. 

The premier responded by saying the Tafelberg mattter was still in court. 

"I wish the court case will finish so that we can actually finalise what we need to do with that property. We will do whatever we can so that the property can be maximised so that social housing can included," he added. 

Winde then took the opportunity to tell the activists that the much bigger Helen Bowden Nurses Home in Sea Point was also ready for housing opportunities, but that it was currently being "illegally occupied" by housing activists. 

The Helen Bowden Nurses Home, named Ahmed Kathrada House by occupiers, has become the site of a defiance campaign over the shortage of affordable inner-city housing in Cape Town.

"That property we want to develop for hundreds of housing opportunities, but the problem is that it is illegally occupied. We saw the devastating fire in Johannesburg, and we don't want that to happen in this province," Winde said. 

He pleaded with activists to allow the property to be developed. 

"Let's allow the people to move out so that the property can be developed," he said. 


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