Friday, July 16, 2021

Housing Development Agency to buy SABC's derelict Rocklands Villas property in Cape Town, rundown property to be redeveloped into low-cost housing.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African government is buying the South African public broadcaster's rundown and derelict Rocklands Villas property in Sea Point.

The derelict property will be redeveloped as a low-cost housing complex for rent for people earning between R1 500 and R15 000 per month.

The SABC's Rocklands Villas - long a massive problem and originally used as housing for SABC staff until it fell into disrepair - sits on five erven with a block of flats containing 14 units, set over 3 erven, and the remaining two erven which can be used as parking space, measuring 900m², as originally described by the auctioneers.

After a planned public auction, halted through court action, and a new planned auction to private developers that would have taken place on Thursday after the Western Cape High Court finally okay-ed it, the country's department of human settlement’s Housing Development Agency (HDA) is now going to buy it.

The HDA stepped in and reached an agreement with the SABC to purchase the derelict eyesore that has been a problem and crime magnet behind the SABC's Sea Point building for years.

The department of human settlement and the Housing Development Agency (HDA) secured an urgent court interdict in May this year to prevent the SABC from proceeding with a planned auction.

The court later gave the SABC the right to proceed with the auction but the HDA and the SABC then engage over a possible sale price, instead of the blighted property, in a prime location spot, going on auction.

Lindiwe Sisulu, minister of human settlements, water and sanitation, says that the department decided to take advantage of land distribution processes to demand that all remaining urban state-owned land be released for social housing, allowing working people to live near their place of work.

"We remain committed to redress the pre-1994 spatial segregation by ensuring that we acquire strategic land parcels for human settlements development. The building we have acquired from the SABC will make it possible for us to respond to the housing needs of our people in the City of Cape Town," says Lindiwe Sisulu in a statement.

Buhle Booi, organiser of the Ndifuna Ukwazi land activist organisation, says "We fundamentally believe that in the middle of the housing crisis the SABC, as a state-owned enterprise (SOE), should have consulted with relevant state organs to dispose of the public building so that the SOE asset can be utilised for its social value, rather than their first option being to auction off public assets to private entities".