Dear Premier Zille,
I hereby wish to identify fully with the campaign to halt the selling off of the Tafelberg site in Seapoint and to support the idea of it being used for mixed income development including social housing. My objection to the City’s intentions and support for social housing is based on the belief that a major obstacle to long term peace and stability in this country is the appalling inequity consequent on the spatial arrangement of every city and town. That arrangement sustains the racial separation and injustice of apartheid daily. Small wonder that daily service delivery protests persist. Cape Town, the so-called Mother City, is a stark example of this inequity. It lags way behind Johannesburg which has many mixed use, mixed income areas close to the CBD and new social housing in it.
Everyone who has thought about it knows what needs to be done spatially to reconstruct the South African city:
- Densify the built fabric in the ‘township’ areas to accommodate reasonably the people living there in overcrowded circumstances;
- Build new amenities, shops, offices, factories, market-places, clinics etc into the ‘township’ areas to give choice and convenience there;
- Densify suburbia to take population growth without expanding the city boundaries;
- Identify sites close to the CBD and existing socio/economic nodes to make convenient housing available to poor people;
- Fix the public transport system.
This Tafelberg site offers the ideal opportunity to initiate the 4th requirement decisively. It must be done!
It’s time Cape Town put its money where its mouth is and showed leadership to the country by starting the exciting process of taking actions that promote urgent recovery from the damaging apartheid spatial legacy.
Architect and Urban Designer