The Chief Director: Immovable Asset Management

Western Cape Government

4th Floor, 9 Dorp Street

Cape Town



Dear Chief Director: Immovable Asset Management


Thank you for the opportunity to express our views on the sale of the Tafelberg School. We object to the sale of the property to a private school and appeal to you to make the property available for the development of much needed social housing in the Sea Point area.

The Tafelberg School property is very well suited to residential use in general and to social housing in particular as its primary land use. The availability of this property provides a unique social housing opportunity on the Western sea-board side of the Cape Town City Centre. Another such opportunity is unlikely to be found. This provides an opportunity to reverse the history of spatial apartheid that has shaped social and economic lives in Cape Town – such an opportunity should not be discarded.

The City of Cape Town’s Central City Regeneration Programme, introduced in early 2012, focuses on generating economic activity, creating new jobs and opportunities for empowerment, providing access to the city’s resources, facilitating social cohesion, enabling environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. This vision includes creating diverse, globally connected and socially inclusive spaces to encourage an entrepreneurial culture and provide a welcoming and inspiring place for socially mixed communities. The Tafelberg School property provides a special opportunity to implement this programme.

Cape Town’s CBD still does not have any integrated affordable housing opportunities. Government and private developers have often cited the high price of land and input costs in the Central Business District (CBD) as obstacles to building affordable housing in the CBD. This property, located in the CBD, provides a very good opportunity to turn this situation around. Affordable and inclusive housing is not only possible in the CBD, but is necessary to reverse spatial apartheid that results in social and economic exclusion. It would provide residential opportunities that assist low- and moderate-income households to have access to the City’s socio-economic resources. On that basis alone, affordable and mixed-income housing in the CBD must be a priority for all spheres of government as well as the private sector too.

Affordable housing in the CBD has significant economic benefits. Allowing people to reside closer to their places of work has fuelled the growth of other commercial centres around the Cape Town metro-region, such as Century City and Bellville. One of the most strategic and straightforward ways to maintain the CBD’s economic draw would be the addition of affordable housing. This would not only bring in more people, but it would also help to enhance the local economy by offering more opportunities for more people. Social housing built at this property could provide homes for nurses, police officers, those employed in the retail and other business sectors who earn regular salaries and want to live in the area.

We and other NASHO members previously engaged with key stakeholders in the Western Cape Provincial Government around the use of some of the sites in the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works‘ Cape Town Central City Regeneration Programme for social housing. The intention was to ensure that low- and moderate-income households gain access to affordable housing in the inner parts of Cape Town. Throughout the engagement we were encouraged to provide site specific business models for social housing and/ or mixed social housing. One of these sites was the Tafelberg School Site and a comprehensive Feasibility Report was therefore submitted to the province in March 2015 to make a case for social housing within the City of Cape Town’s Central City and including at the Tafelberg School.

The Feasibility Report showed the viability of developing predominantly social housing on the identified properties. It also reinforced the government’s national strategy to provide well-located affordable housing to previously disadvantaged and poor communities through its various programmes including the Social Housing Programme.

It is our recommendations that the feasibility study be revisited subject to The City of Cape Town Municipal Planning By-law which came into operation on 1 July 2015. This by-law replaced the Land Use Planning Ordinance, No 15 of 1985 and laws such as the Removal of Restrictions Act.

The by-law gives effect to the municipal planning function allocated to municipalities in terms of Part B of Schedule 4 of the Constitution. It also gives effect to certain requirements set in the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) and the Western Cape Land Use Planning Act (LUPA), both of which came into operation on 1 July 2015.

We firmly believe that the redevelopment of the Tafelberg School property for social housing will contribute toward restructuring of the apartheid city and alleviating poverty in Cape Town. It provides an ideal opportunity to for the Western Cape government to demonstrate unequivocal commitment to social justice by promoting an inclusive and integrated city. We urge you to reconsider the sale to a private school and to make the site available for social housing as we believe that this is in the public interest.

Yours sincerely,



PDF here.


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