The DA is outburst by petty insults from Minister of Public Works in the ANC government, Patricia de Lille, which will not deter the commitment to fight for more affordable housing for Capetonians through the release of large tracts of government land.
“Our call was simple, houses for people, not politicians. That call is not ‘stupid’ or a ‘joke’. It is a sensible, achievable call that De Lille has supported herself in the past. Her views have clearly changed since her appointment to the ANC national government Cabinet,” DA said.
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The party said minister De Lille may have abandoned Cape Town, but they have not. Adding, they will keep fighting for more affordable housing for more Capetonians.
“Last week, I launched my plan to address the housing shortage in Cape Town so that more residents can live a life of dignity. I committed to speeding up the release of city-owned land for this purpose.
“I also called on the national government to release the massive tracts of land that it owns or controls because these pieces of land dwarf anything else that is available in Cape Town for housing,” DA adds.
DA said it has last week wrote to Minister De Lille requesting her to cancel the lease over Acacia Park so that the City of Cape Town can buy the land and release it for the development of affordable housing.
Unfortunately, in an interview responding to my plan over the weekend, De Lille showed little sympathy or understanding of the pressing need for housing of so many Capetonians. Instead, she dismissed my call for her to release Acacia Park as “stupid” and “a joke.”
The infrastructure that already exists at Acacia Park makes it a move-in ready social housing project – located close to major business nodes, with a school, its train station, parks and a swimming pool.
Most puzzling of all is De Lille’s dismissal of the DA’s call to release national government owned land for housing, when she previously issued the same call.
The DA has obtained correspondence sent to then President Jacob Zuma by De Lille when she was still mayor of Cape Town on 6 February 2014. In the correspondence, De Lille notes that “land holdings owned by the National Department of Public Works…which, is released for housing purposes, would play a significant role in reducing the housing backlog in the city.”
But now that De Lille is herself the Minister of the Department of Public Works in the ANC government, she dismisses the same long-term solution she once embraced as “a joke.”
In her interview this weekend, De Lille went on to defend the continued use of the 56.8-hectares of Acacia Park to house Members of Parliament on the basis that the National Party also used this valuable land for politicians, and instructed the DA “to go and ask the National Party” to release the land.
This suggestion makes little sense however, as it is the ANC national government – of which De Lille is a senior member – that is in power and has for 27 years overseen the continued exclusion of people in desperate need of housing from sites like Acacia Park, as well as the Wingfield, Youngsfield and Ysterplaat military bases.
“We have long known that the national ANC government vindictively refuses to release well-located pieces of state-owned land to the DA-led City of Cape Town,” DA said.
By dismissing the needs of the same city she once served as mayor, it is clear that De Lille has become nothing but an agent implementing this same cruel and vindictive ANC policy towards the people of Cape Town.