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Monday Jun 07, 2021

Mowbray golf course eyed for social housing

The City of Cape Town has earmarked the King David Mowbray Golf Course as a site for social housing, but reiterated that it is only a proposal at this stage.

Land and housing activists continue to call for the land to be used for social and affordable housing, to redress to the City's apartheid spatial legacy.

The proposal for development as a site for social and affordable housing is contained in the draft integrated spatial development framework (SDF) for the City's Table Bay Planning District.

Mayco member for Spatial Planning and Environment Marian Nieuwoudt said the identification of areas for potential development, such as the Mowbray golf course, did not mean their development was imminent.

"There are feasibility studies and land use planning processes that will be undertaken prior to any development decisions – should any of these transpire. Thus, to make it clear: the draft SDF simply outlines that this site could be more suitable for future development. It is also important to keep in mind the draft SDF is exactly that: a draft, thus it is not a final document as yet."

The public participation on the draft SDF started on April 6 and closed on Sunday.

All comments received during the public participation process will form part of the review of the draft document, before the City submits the final SDF to council for approval.

"As part of the City's human settlements strategy, all suitable City-owned land continues to be assessed - from golf courses to mixed-use areas - to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for affordable housing opportunities, among others," said Nieuwoudt.

Activist groups Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City have advocated that King David Golf Course and Rondebosch Golf Course would be ideal for the development of social/ affordable housing because of their proximity to public amenities, such as public transport, schools and health-care facilities.

Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Robyn Park-Ross said: "In a important recognition of the need to leverage public land to address spatial apartheid, the City of Cape Town's Table Bay District and Southern District Plans have identified both the King David Mowbray Golf Course and Rondebosch Golf Course to varying degrees for new urban development.

"This is a major shift from the City's previous unsustainable and unjust approach to lease these prime pieces of public land to private clubs at nominal rentals to the exclusive benefit of a few wealthy members.

"The Table Bay District Plan has outlined Mowbray Golf Course as one of its catalytic land development areas, which 'present significant opportunities to advance spatial transformation on state-owned land'. We welcome this acknowledgement of what activists have been calling for since 2018 and call on the City to maximise the redistributive potential of this land."

Reclaim The City Woodstock chapter leader Karen Hendricks said: "The City has in the past leased 45 hectares of the Rondebosch Golf Course to the golf club at a rate of R88 per month. Reclaim the City protested the failure of the City to redistribute that land to build affordable housing in 2020, when we objected on the renewal of the lease to the golf club.

"The unwillingness of the City to develop these large parcels of public land for affordable/low-cost housing comes as a result of their lack of political will. We welcome the proposal to build affordable housing on these parcels of land to bring poor and working-class people closer to economic opportunities and social amenities."

By Shakirah Thebus

Cape Argus


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