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Tuesday Jul 06, 2021

Housing activists cry foul at auction of SABC's Rocklands Villas property

Housing lobby groups have expressed disappointment at the SABC's victory to continue with the auction of its Rocklands Villas property in Sea Point.

The cash-strapped public broadcaster saw delays in its attempts to sell the property in May after the Department of Human Settlements and the Housing Development Agency (HDA) obtained an interdict in the Western Cape High Court.

In court papers, the department and the HDA argued that the auction and sale were in conflict with the government's mandate to redress spatial segregation and associated inequitable access to land by the poor.

The SABC argued that the application was brought on the basis of an alleged breach of the "State Owned Enterprises' Non-Core Property Disposal Policy, and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Guidelines of 2008", and that it had executed the auction process in compliance with laws and regulations.

The property auction, advertised by Aucor, is now expected to resume at the Houghton Golf Club in Gauteng on July 15 at 11am.

The public broadcaster's group executive for corporate affairs, Gugu Ntuli, said yesterday: "The SABC can confirm that the court has granted the corporation permission to proceed with the public auction for the Western Cape property. The SABC is obligated to ensure that the state assets are disposed of at maximum value via a transparent and fair process."

Ndifuna Ukwazi's community organiser, Buhle Booi, said: "We still maintain the view that public land and public assets should not be viewed as mere commodities but must be utilised for their social value to serve public good, particularly in this deeply segregated city.

"Public land is key to advancing spatial justice. Auctioning Rocklands Villas to the highest bidder for ‘business recovery' will only serve as a short-term cash injection for the SABC, instead of addressing long-term systemic exclusion of the marginalised people of Sea Point."

Reclaim the City activist Karen Hendricks said the courts should consider that the City was facing a deepening housing crisis.

"No affordable or social housing has been built in the inner city of Cape Town, particularly the greater Green Point and Sea Point area. Public land and buildings during this housing crisis and 27 years after apartheid should be prioritised," said Hendricks.

ANC leader in the provincial legislature Cameron Dugmore said it was shocking that the SABC was in effect preventing the attainment of redress and inclusionary housing.

"We will never accept anything less than the Rocklands SABC building being transferred to the Housing Development Association, an entity which falls under human settlements. We will write tomorrow to both the ministers of communications and human settlements and chair of the SABC board and urge them to resolve this matter," said Dugmore.

The Department of Human Settlements had not commented by deadline.

Cape Times5 Jul 2021O KUHLE HLATI


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