18 July 2019

Statement by Brett Herron: 18 July 2019

Western Cape State of the Province Address: ABUNDANT HOT AIR BUT NO WINDE OF CHANGE FOR WESTERN CAPE SPATIAL INJUSTICE

On this Mandela Day, 25 years after President Mandela's inauguration as our first democratically elected president, we hang our heads in shame at the scant progress that has been made in transforming the souls of our towns and cities, and reversing spatial injustice.

While the GOOD Party will constructively add its shoulder to the wheel in support of provincial development initiatives announced in Premier Alan Winde's State of the Province Address, we will also stridently demand of the Premier that he brings municipalities to heel in pursuit of transforming the fabric of our urban centres - beginning with the Mother City.

I was disappointed when he criticized those who arrive late and leave early at their places of work when in the CBD. In his desire for leaders to walk the streets and understand the lived experience of our citizens, I think he needs to walk further than St George’s Mall.

If he did, he would know that the DA has stopped MyCiTi services to Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain, exacerbating our public transport crisis.

Premier Winde should realise that hot air, buck-passing and pronouncements of yet more plans do not achieve real change. The perilous state of social, economic and spatial inequity in our land demands real action, now. Hundreds of thousands in our province urgently need housing and land, so a good place to begin would be with a firm provincial commitment to use well-located public land for public good and stop selling it off to developers for profit.

Exactly two years ago, in my then-capacity as the Cape Town City councillor responsible for new housing, I announced a “180-degree change" in the City of Cape Town's approach to the urgent demand for housing.

It was on that day in 2017 that we announced that 10 City-owned sites in inner city areas would be the first in a series released by the City to be used for well-located social and affordable housing. This formed part of our plan to further accelerate housing delivery; and especially for the delivery of well-located affordable housing.

Ultimately, it was resistance to this plan by the conservative faction in the DA's city caucus that led to my and then-Mayor Ms Patricia de Lille's resignation, and the formation of the GOOD Party.

Winde's boss, MEC Madikizela, recently advised those questioning the province's spatial transformation record to "start to look at the evidence”. We’ve been looking… Perhaps Winde or Madikizela can give us some clues, because we're struggling to find a single example of well-located affordable housing.

Truth be told, the DA has controlled the city for 13 years and run the provincial government for the last decade. Prior to the DA the ANC led the city and province. Neither the ANC nor DA can show you a single affordable housing unit in any former white, well-located part of the city.

The Tafelberg site is but one stark example of the Province’s preference to profit from the sale of well-located public land by selling it to developers instead of using it for public good such as affordable housing.

Before I resigned from the City of Cape Town, my team was able to double delivery in two years – exceeding the city’s annual housing delivery target for the first time in history. But while numbers are critically important, so too is location. We were developing a pipeline of inner city projects and that pipeline has been blocked by conservatives in the DA’s caucus.

Elected leaders cannot hide behind lip service and promises they have no intention of seeing through. We need more affordable housing, we need it in good locations, and we need it now. Over to you, Mr Winde!

Ends…

Cameron Arendse