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NGO: Current legislation can’t address demand for affordable housing

Helen Rourke says issues of transitional and affordable housing and emergency accommodation will see the City of CT facing regular legal challenges.

A Housing Project in Atlantis. Photo: EWN

CAPE TOWN – The Development Action Group, an urban housing research non-governmental organisation, says South Africa's existing legislation does not adequately address the challenges around affordable housing.

The Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a brick manufacturing company by confirming an eviction order against former employees who've been living on its land for free for the past five years.

The ConCourt furthermore ruled the City of Cape Town has a constitutional obligation to provide temporary alternative accommodation to the evictees.

The group's project manager Helen Rourke says issues of transitional and affordable housing and emergency accommodation will see the City facing regular legal challenges.

“I don’t think that there is strong enough existing housing legislation to actually deal with this conundrum, so as a result it sits in and out of the courts and it’s partly due to that.”

Rourke says the slow pace of housing delivery needs to be scrutinised.

“When we are delivering less than 10,000 units each year and we have seen the growth of backyarding happen at a very rapid rate and put a lot of pressure on infrastructure – that’s the kind of demand for affordable and well-located housing is just so serious.”

The ConCourt has ruled the City's proposal of emergency accommodation at Wolwerivier, a settlement about thirty kilometres out of the CBD, is adequate.

The ruling came much to the disappointment of human rights activists who have been opposed to the City's implementation of emergency housing in far-flung areas.