The City of Cape Town has signed social housing partnership agreements with five accredited social housing companies in order to speed up the pace and scale of housing delivery.
The City is currently implementing three social housing projects - in Steenberg, Brooklyn and Bothasig - as part of its plans to involve the private sector in the delivery of affordable housing.
Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, said meeting the enormous demand for housing is a challenge, as the City has to contend with apartheid-era planning, a shortage of available land and an ever increasing demand due to urbanisation.
"Given the nature of these obstacles, it is clear that the government alone cannot overcome them. We need the assistance of the private sector, civil society and beneficiary communities themselves."
She said this makes the establishment of partnerships with these stakeholders essential in order to provide housing opportunities to those who qualify for them.
The City currently has 380 000 people on its housing database. This includes people who have the means to rent affordable houses, but can't afford to buy their own houses.
"In order to ensure that we provide fully subsidised housing to those who are in desperate need of such assistance – the poor and the vulnerable – we have a responsibility to ensure that those who can afford access to social housing are given the chance to do so. This in turn reduces the pressure on the City to provide fully subsidised housing opportunities."
The City is therefore working with its partners to facilitate the provision of rental housing for low income groups. Partnership agreements with Communicare, the Social Housing Company (SOHCO) and the Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) were renewed, while new agreements were signed with Madulammoho and Indiza Terra.
These companies were selected through a competitive process during which they were assessed in terms of their capacity to develop and manage Social Housing rental stock in terms of the Social Housing Act, 16 of 2008.
The City's partnership policy allows for preferential land release, preferential land transfer costs, no cost for building plans submission, the prioritisation of infrastructure and bulk services, and other arrangements which will help fulfil its mandate in terms of the Act.
"To meet the housing needs of the residents of the city in future, we cannot just depend on subsidies. Commercial banks must also contribute through the provision of gap housing," De Lille said.
"These agreements are a symbol of our commitment to meet the housing needs of our people. We are doing our best, with limited resources, to provide housing opportunities where we can, because we know that owning or renting a house that one can call a home restores the dignity of many families who have never had a stable home all their lives."