The Western Cape ANC welcomed Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s decision to take the Western Cape government to court over the sale of the Tafelberg property, saying it will help reverse the legacy of apartheid.

The Mail and Guardian on Friday reported that Sisulu’s decision follows a breakdown in communication between the national government department and the province.

In March, the provincial cabinet announced it approved the sale of the property to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School for R135-million. The income from the sale would be used to complete the upgrade of the provincial government building in Dorp Street.

ANC Western Cape MPL Cameron Dugmore said the party always believed the Tafelberg school property was suitable for the development of affordable housing.

“Minister Sisulu’s intervention is a clear example of the political will required to reverse the negative impact of apartheid spatial planning and the legacy of colonialism,” he said in a statement.

Dugmore said they have written to the public protector asking her to investigate the conflict of interest between senior advisers in the provincial public works department and the office of the premier.

Helen Zille’s spokesperson, Michael Mpofu, said Sisulu has not told the provincial government the legal basis of her disagreement with the sale.

“If minister Sisulu believes that every piece of available property in the metro must be used for affordable housing, then the vast tracts of under-utilised land in our metro which are owned by national government currently, e.g.
Culemborg, Ysterplaat, Wingfield, Youngsfield and Denel are presumably enjoying the same attention by minister Sisulu,” he said.

Reclaim the City, which has been occupying the Helen Bowden Nurses’ home and Woodstock hospital since March in support of affordable inner-city housing, welcomed the legal action by the minister.

“We hope that this move goes beyond Tafelberg and elevates the use of other well-located land across the country for affordable inner-city housing,” Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Hopolang Selebalo said.

“Land in cities such as Port Elizabeth and Durban should also be used for social housing.”

Ndifuna Ukwazi is the mother organisation of Reclaim the City. – News24