Isandla Institute

The Chief Director: Immovable Asset Management

Fax 021 483 7682

RE: Submission to Western Cape Provincial Government regarding the sale of Tafelberg

Cape Town, 8 June 2016


Dear Premier Zille,

Isandla Institute is a Cape Town-based public interest think tank with a primary focus on just, equitable, sustainable and democratic urban habitats. At the core of our work is the goal of advancing the right to the city, only attainable when urban residents are able to exercise full citizenship and participate in planning and governance.

Over the last fifteen years, Isandla Institute has consistently advocated for the eradication of poverty and the realisation of human rights through the promotion of dialogue and exchange, policy research, advocacy, public education, institutional support, network coordination and information dissemination in the areas of urban land and local governance.

Isandla Institute is particularly concerned with the deeply entrenched patterns of social exclusion, which starkly manifest themselves in Cape Town’s urban landscape. We believe that access to, and the appropriate utilisation of, urban land is vital in advancing social inclusion and the spatial restructuring of the city. As such, we have long advocated the social function of land, whereby urban land – and most especially publicly-held land – is not merely dispensed of because of its economic value and highest and best use potential, but is utilised in the interest of pursuing transformation objectives, such as integration, inclusion, equity and city restructuring. This allows for a shift in thinking about land as individual property, to land as a public asset that is used to promote justice, equity and sustainability.

The Western Cape Provincial Government is currently faced with a critical opportunity to facilitate social inclusion and spatial transformation. To this end, we are calling on you as custodian of public land not to let this opportunity pass you by, and to reconsider the sale of the Tafelberg School site to a private developer. We are also calling on you to develop, with a sense of urgency, a coherent public land release and utilisation framework, which takes into account the critical need to bring about more integrated, just and inclusive cities and towns. This would include an explicit commitment to increasing access to well-located land for the poor.


Mirjam van Donk


PDF here.


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