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Strategic shift approved to help tackle housing challenge<p><strong>Context of current housing situation </strong></p><ul><li><strong>Covid-19 impact and the slow economic recovery in South Africa.</strong></li><li><strong>Dire state of National Government finances. </strong></li><li><strong>National budget cuts for human settlements. </strong></li><li><strong>Rigid housing regime. </strong></li><li><strong>Unlawful occupation placing pressure on resources and planned projects. </strong></li><li><strong>Rising challenge of accommodation, especially for those earning less than R22 000 per month. </strong></li><li><strong>The State, or a municipality, currently does not have the financial resources nor the availability of suitable land and capacity, to tackle the affordable housing need on its own. The City spent 98% of the capital grant money received for housing in the 2019/20 financial year. A fundamental shift is required and change in mindsets about affordable housing. New avenues must be followed to increase the supply of affordable housing as a matter of extreme urgency. </strong></li><li><strong>It is in the best interest of all who live in Cape Town that all residents are accommodated in safer, healthier environments. This is therefore a strategy for Cape Town as a community. </strong></li></ul><p>‘The broadening of the City’s strategic role from regulator to greater enabler of affordable housing, in partnership with all roleplayers, including emerging micro-developers, traditional private developers, social housing partners, and households themselves, is critical to meeting an increasing demand for affordable housing.  </p><p>‘The demand for affordable housing will continue to increase as a result of the national economic conditions, which are being made worst by the impact of Covid-19 and the national lockdowns, the current national housing regulatory regime and the fall-out from the large-scale orchestrated unlawful occupations that have happened since the Covid-19 lockdown started,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi. </p><p>The Human Settlements Strategy, which underwent an extensive three-month public participation, is aligned to the key focus areas of the City over the coming financial year, described in the City’s Strategic Management Framework as being: <br>• The pandemic response<br>• Prioritising essential services<br>• Prioritising financial sustainability<br>• Enabling economic recovery<br>•<strong> Responding to the land and housing crises</strong><br>• Prioritising safety<br>• Responding to health and social impacts<br>• Organisational stabilisation, adaptation and resilience building</p><p><strong>Interlinked housing markets </strong><br>‘Cape Town’s Human Settlements Strategy is for all in Cape Town. It is not for one sector or for government to handle on its own. Housing, across all types, affect all who live in Cape Town. Affordable housing, and incrementally enhancing affordable accommodation and basic services, must become a greater part of the mainstream conversation.</p><p>‘It is aimed at enabling greater partnership, collaboration, inclusivity and innovation in the human settlements sphere, especially private sector support and the development of incentives and mechanisms to change how we do things. This is crucial, as the City on its own cannot solve the challenges of urbanisation, increased informality and a drastic shortage in the housing stock. Cape Town has many unique challenges and we must ensure we are able to manoeuvre around the complexities that we face as a city, such as suitable land scarcity and diminishing national grant funding for housing.’ </p><p><strong>Shortfall of formal housing </strong></p><ul><li>A shortfall in the development of formal housing opportunities of approximately 30 000 every year within the next decade, assuming the average annual rate of supply by both the private and public sectors remain unchanged.  </li><li>Between 1996 and 2016, Cape Town’s population increased by 56% to more than 4,3 million residents, and over the same period, there was a 94% increase in the number of households, to around 1,36 million. </li><li>To accommodate projected growth as well as to manage the existing housing demand, it is estimated that roughly 500 000 housing opportunities need to be created between now and 2028. </li><li>Urbanisation will continue and the associated growth in informality, especially considering the dire national economic conditions in South Africa. This is not a problem that is unique to Cape Town, but it is perhaps exacerbated by the limited suitable land and topography of Cape Town as a Peninsula. </li><li>The City’s Human Settlements Directorate spent approximately 98% of its Urban Settlements Development Grant capital funding in the 2019/20 financial year, despite the substantial impact that Covid-19 had on its operations. This illustrates the City is able to deliver on State projects as earmarked, but the need is pronounced and a new, whole-of-society approach is required. </li><li>All suitable City-owned land must continue to be assessed, including suitable land in and near the Cape Town CBD and other urban centres with various uses - from golf courses to mixed use areas - to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for affordable housing opportunities among others. </li></ul><p><strong>Unlawful Land Occupation Framework</strong><br>The Human Settlements Strategy also includes the principles of the new Unlawful Land Occupation Framework. </p><p>The framework primarily deals with short- and longer-term measures to deal with the large number of people who have illegally settled on land, and especially the issue of basic services. </p><p>The City maintains that it is unable to provide immediate services, if at all, to all newly formed settlements at the expense of the existing services and programmes planned in accordance with its Budget. The City does not have unlimited resources. In its assessments of the areas, the City’s stance is that the land assessment/physical conditions determines what, if any services, can be provided in terms of emergency relief. <br> <br>The majority of the primarily large-scale organised unlawful occupations that have happened since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown periods in March 2021, is on land that is not suitable or viable for human habitation, such as in flood-prone wetlands, low-lying areas and even in water retention ponds or on the slopes of loose, sandy nature reserve land that will get eroded by wind and rain. These areas are typically not well resourced in terms of bulk services as the City cannot develop it for housing purposes. It carries extreme health and safety consequences for the residents who have unlawfully occupied. </p><p><strong>Human Settlements Strategy </strong><br><a href="http://bit.ly/CCT-HSStrategy">http://bit.ly/CCT-HSStrategy</a></p><p><br><strong>End</strong><br></p>2021-05-26T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#0d8b7293-a214-43fa-80da-d843dd6f8e82;L0|#00d8b7293-a214-43fa-80da-d843dd6f8e82|human settlements;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb10

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