A Tamboerskloof military base has been earmarked for affordable housing by the City of Cape Town, and may potentially provide housing for the residents of the Bo-Kaap. However, several Bo-Kaap organisations say this is a ploy. They predict that construction will be delayed and this will lead to it being sold to development companies.
Speaking to IOL, chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association said that the organisation is challenging the City to stop selling their land and to stop the gentrification of the Bo-Kaap.
The military base in Tamboerskloof, named Erf 81, could either be used to serve as social housing or as mixed-use housing, and holds the potential to solve the housing crisis. “That piece of land is substantial and is owned by the Department of Public Works and we have been requesting from them to hand over the land to us. This will assist us with implementing affordable housing in Bo-Kaap and the inner city,” said Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.
Herron also added that the City is relying on this request being approved. “I have received a positive response so far from national government,” he said.
The land is maintained by the Department of Public Works, but is still managed by the South African National Defense Force (SANDF).
Many Bo-Kaap residents have expressed confusion as to who exactly will benefit once the houses are built.
Spokesperson for Bo-Kaap Youth, Safwaan Laubscher, has questioned whether the land will go to the residents of Tamboerskloof or Bo-Kaap. “We are supporting this but that land in particular is located between Tamboerskloof and Bo-Kaap. The question we have now is who does that land now actually belong to and who will get preferential treatment, Bo-Kaap or Tamboerskloof residents?” Laubscher asked.
Another activist, Tauriq Heuwel, said that the term ‘earmarked’ is a ‘pie in the sky’ as no one knows who will benefit from the land until it is allocated.