The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is a membership based organisation that represents users of the public healthcare system – mostly poor people living in South Africa – and campaigns and litigates on critical issues related to the quality of and access to healthcare. The TAC is committed to campaigning to ensure equality for all people living in South Africa based on the rights enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa.
We urge the Western Cape provincial government to utilise the Tafelberg site in Sea Point for the development of affordable housing. Sale of this site to private developers would only serve to maintain the legacy of spatial apartheid in the city. The Western Cape provincial government has a moral and a
Constitutional obligation to take steps to reintegrate communities and to reduce the lingering inequalities created by apartheid – such steps must include the introduction of affordable housing that will deliver long term social value to poor people. The provincial government must do more to ensure the reversal of racially exclusive areas within the City limits. It is not enough to build a few poorly located subsidised housing sites on the outskirts of the city. If the provincial government is serious about combatting racism and building a more integrated society, it will take aggressive and ambitious steps to provide more affordable housing within otherwise wealthy areas such as Sea Point.
From a health perspective, Sea Point is home to excellent healthcare services including
hospitals. These health facilities should not be reserved only for the wealthy. Poor people are suffering in the Western Cape province without access to quality healthcare services. The TAC continues to receive a high volume of complaints about healthcare services in the province (as for example at the recent provincial People’s Health Assembly held on 4th June 2016).
Urgent steps must be taken to protect pockets of land within the City that can be used for
affordable housing development – particularly where poorer communities will benefit from better quality healthcare and other public services as well as greater proximity to workplaces.
Whether the provincial government opts to sell the land to private developers or to use the land for affordable housing is a key test of its commitment to reintegration and undoing the injustices of the past. That greater integration and reversal of apartheid spacial engineering has not yet taken place is a disgrace. Using the Tafelberg site for affordable housing will be an important first step to setting that right.
Treatment Action Campaign