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Woodstock Hospital: Social housing further delayed as City’s request for court-ordered survey is opposed<p>​The City’s application for a court-ordered survey of illegal occupants at Woodstock Hospital is being opposed. This will further delay social housing development at the site as the matter is now postponed to April 2021. ​A portion of illegal occupants and legal advisors Ndifuna Ukwazi and Centre for Applied Legal Studies initially missed a 19 February 2021 High Court deadline to file intention to oppose the City’s request for a survey.</p><p>A court-ordered survey is needed to determine the number of illegal occupants, their identities, monthly income, eligibility for State-subsidised housing, and willingness to vacate the property so that social housing plans are not further delayed. </p><p>Shortly before this morning’s court sitting, the respondents filed an affidavit claiming that the personal information the City is seeking from a survey of illegal occupants does not align with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act. This claim is completely without merit and the City will file an affidavit with the court to this effect. </p><p>The matter is urgent as the City is able to proceed with social housing building plan submissions within a short timeframe due to favourable zoning and rights on the property subject to any heritage requirements. The surrounding community also deserves an urgent end to the constant breach of the City’s by-laws and other crime at the Woodstock Hospital site, which has necessitated an increased law enforcement presence and security measures. </p><p>The survey will provide a lawful basis for engaging illegal occupants. It is only necessary for a court to order it because gatekeepers such as Ndifuna Ukwazi and others have steadfastly resisted the State’s plans to advance constitutional housing development.<br> <br>A previous attempt to conduct a socio-economic survey was blocked by illegal occupants, as recorded in the minutes of a meeting with Ndifuna Ukwazi Co-Director Jared Rossouw and others at the property. <br> <br>Only lawful and constitutional means can be used to allocate the estimated 700 social housing units the City intends to build at Woodstock Hospital, and development cannot begin until the illegal occupants vacate the site.</p><p>It is hoped that people will move from the property voluntarily. If need be, the City will pursue eviction proceedings subject to lockdown regulations and all due process will be followed.<br>  <br>The toxic legacy of Ndifuna Ukwazi’s ‘Reclaim the City’ unlawful occupation campaign has become a major obstacle to social housing at two well-located sites in central Cape Town. <br> <br>Following government’s announcement of social housing plans for these properties, Ndifuna Ukwazi staged an organised invasion in March 2017, with subsequent calls to “sustain and build” the occupation. <br> <br>For four years, this illegal act has stalled social housing developments at both the City-owned Woodstock Hospital site and the Helen Bowden property near the V&A Waterfront, owned by the Western Cape Government (WCG).<br> <br>It was initially claimed to be a ‘symbolic’ occupation, but has spiralled out of control.<br> <br>In October 2018, the Western Cape High Court granted an order interdicting and restraining Reclaim the City from “inciting persons to enter or be upon the property for the purpose of unlawfully occupying or invading”.<br> <br>In contempt of this order, the number of unlawful occupiers has increased substantially, along with reports of criminality, rent extortion rackets, violence and mob activity to the detriment of the surrounding community.<br> <br>RTC is not an “organic movement” as claimed, but an organised building hijacking effort initiated by Ndifuna Ukwazi and other NPOs in the same stable. The purpose was to derail constitutional social housing development and fair allocation of opportunities. <br> <br>Illegal occupations cannot be equated with activism, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances given that the entire public housing programme hinges on protecting land from unlawful occupation, with projects worth R1,3 billion currently under threat. <br>  <br>The City goes to great lengths to protect land earmarked for the development goals of Cape Town and cannot afford to have groupings in society who promote illegal occupation of land and buildings or coordinate the invasion thereof in attempts to control housing allocation outside of the law.  <br> <br>All role-players must actively discourage attempts to illegally occupy land. We owe this not only to ourselves as residents of a growing city, but also to future generations who will require land for schools, hospitals, housing, transport infrastructure and community facilities.<br> <br>City committed to social housing<br>The City has a clear commitment to enabling more affordable housing opportunities, especially the social housing model. </p><p>The City is currently enabling the construction phases of more than 2 000 affordable housing opportunities in and near urban centres across the metro to develop greater spatial equality in Cape Town. </p><p>Social housing projects are complex and carry a heavy legal and compliance burden, as those who work with these projects formally would know. </p><p>Several well-located projects in central Cape Town are set for major milestones this year, with a projected total of around 620 social housing units. </p><p>Pine Road is due to break ground, Dillon Lane is at development application stage, and Salt River Market is now just months away from handover to a social housing developer. <br> <br>The Newmarket Street site (444 units projected yield) is also in the pipeline for social housing among others, with a short-term lease on the property contributing to upkeep and security in the interim. <br> <br>The City and the WCG are together driving the innovative Conradie Better Living Model (BLM) development (3 600 units total) in Pinelands, an inner city feeder suburb. Similar collaboration has succeeded in Belhar CBD (4 000 units total) where an affordable community context is being created around key education institutions.<br> <br>In District Six, the City is hosting extensive engagements with residents on a Local Spatial Development Framework, and the WCG has already built the District Six CDC healthcare facility, anticipating the return of thousands of beneficiaries to the CBD via the National Government-led restitution process.</p><p>The City’s Human Settlements Directorate spent 98% of its Urban Settlements Development Grant capital budget for housing opportunities in the 2019/20 financial year despite the greatly negative impact of Covid-19 and lockdown regulation on its programmes and operations. <br> <br>Anonymous tip-offs welcomed:<br>Residents can give anonymous tip offs if they are aware of illegal activity that is taking place; that has happened or is still to happen. Please call 112 from a cell phone (toll free) and 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 for emergencies.</p>2021-02-25T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#cee98527-2114-4029-8173-aee474e6c8a5;L0|#0cee98527-2114-4029-8173-aee474e6c8a5|land invasion;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb10

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