SOHCO

Chief Director: Immoveable Asset Management

4th Floor

No. 9 Dorp Street

Cape Town

8001

8 June 2016

Dear Premier Zille,

Proposed Disposal of State Land; “Tafelberg Site”

I write with respect to the publicly advertised call for comments with respect to the disposal of

  • Erf 1675 an unregistered portion of Erf 1424 Sea Point
  • Remainder of Erf 1424 Sea Point

I write in my capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of Sohco Property Investments NPC, a social housing institution. Sohco develops and manages affordable rental accommodation in Cape Town, Durban, and East London.

In Cape Town we work in formal partnership with the City of Cape Town, and have been following the disposal process associated with the “Tafelberg” site with interest.

The availability of affordable accommodation in well located areas in our cities is critical to shaping inclusive, efficiently operating metropolitan environments into the future. In our work in Cape Town, it has become clear that the open market land values of well-located land and buildings precludes this possibility. This clearly places an additional imperative on state institutions to set the example of considering the developmental impact of land release, as well as the financial impact.

A distressing aspect of the process of release of the Tafelberg site and the activism which has arisen around this, is the polarisation of different sectors of society in the response to the initial process and the campaign which was mounted in response. In this type of situation societal groupings and institutions are caricatured, attacked and defended, precluding any real dialogue and understanding.

The reaction to the land release and the public debate which has ensued has the ability to further entrench historical divides and misunderstandings as it is largely framed in a binary fashion. The outcome is that one interest group wins and one loses.

Our society and urban population surely has the imagination and ability to move away from this binary dynamic and strive for a different model and methodology. I propose that the Western Cape Government consider a combined approach to the development of the site, which has the capacity to include a school, income generating commercial activity and a component of affordable housing

In this fashion setting a precedent for what we should be aspiring for in our cities of the future and demonstrating the feasibility of real mixed use development which contributes developmentally as well as financially to the city.

Yours faithfully

Heather Maxwell

CEO for

Sohco Property Investments NPC

PDF here.

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