Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Center attorney Jonty Cogger chats with breakfast host Refilwe Moloto.

  • Activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi have launched a campaign urging Prime Minister Alan Winde to free up the Tafelberg site for affordable housing
  • The organization’s Jonty Cogger says there is nothing stopping the Western Cape Government from developing social housing on the property
  • He says the provincial government continues to launch legal challenges despite promises to remedy space apartheid in Cape Town’s city center
  • The Tafelberg site remains vacant pending the Western Cape government’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Activist organization Ndifuna Ukwazi has implored Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to free up the Tafelberg site for affordable housing.

The non-governmental organization (NGO) has launched a new campaign urging the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town to fulfill their obligation for spatial justice in the city centre.

Jonty Cogger, a lawyer at the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Center, says there is nothing stopping the Western Cape government from developing social housing on the Tafelberg site.

He says provincial and municipal officials can’t put their money where they say when it comes to affordable housing.

The irony is that neither Cape Town nor the province disputes that they have an obligation to remedy spatial apartheid by providing well-located affordable housing, but they are unwilling to develop affordable housing on Tafelberg same.

Jonty Cogger, Lawyer – Ndifuna Ukwazi Legal Center

What this really shows is a disjunction between their rhetoric and their promises and the gist of reality, which is that they really want to decide what they want to do with their own plots of land. and really hate the intervention of the courts as well as the challenges by civil society asking them to fulfill their obligation of spatial justice.

Jonty Cogger, Lawyer – Ndifuna Ukwazi Legal Center

In 2020, housing activists won their legal challenge by overturning the sale of Tafelberg to private developers.

However, the Tafelberg site is still vacant pending an appeal from the city and the Western Cape to the SCA.

Cogger says officials have dragged their feet on developing affordable housing on state-owned land, leaving poor Capetonians without decent housing close to where they work.

You can’t live on a pipeline, you can’t eat a constitutional right. How many years have we heard of potential plans and promises of affordable housing development? Yet all of this only exists on paper. This is why there is a serious disjunction between promises and reality.

Jonty Cogger, Lawyer – Ndifuna Ukwazi Legal Center

It has been five years since Reclaim the City activists occupied the Ahmed Kathrada House at Sea Point and Woodstock Hospital, now known as the Cissie Gool House.

Cogger says the state is failing in its obligation to fix space apartheid in downtown Cape Town, despite making big promises over the years.

Instead, he says authorities continue to criminalize land occupiers who have been on the housing waiting list for decades — a tactic Cogger describes as “classic apartheid trick.”

Ndifuna Ukwazi argues that there needs to be an audit of state-owned land to see what is available for use in order to hold the state accountable.

The NGO also believes that the private sector also has a vital role to play in facilitating the inclusion of more affordable housing in Cape Town.

There is a market for affordable housing that they [the private sector] can leverage either by developing inclusive housing in new developments or by converting empty office buildings into affordable housing.

Jonty Cogger, Lawyer – Ndifuna Ukwazi Legal Center

It is a misnomer that there is a shortage of state-owned land and real estate prices are too high for the state to buy private land… There are lands owned to the state that can be used.

Jonty Cogger, Lawyer – Ndifuna Ukwazi Legal Center

Since the dawn of democracy, no affordable housing has been built in or around Cape Town, which is truly shameful given that the legacy of apartheid excluded predominantly black and colored people from well-located areas. and exclusively white.

Jonty Cogger, Lawyer – Ndifuna Ukwazi Legal Center

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