The Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) has bemoaned the City of Cape Town’s cancellation of a request for proposals (RFP) process for the highly anticipated Woodstock/Salt River inclusionary housing project.
This follows more than two years after the call for proposals closed in February 2017.
WCPDF says just two weeks ago, it released results of a survey completed by built environment professionals, which found that delays and cancellations around procurement and tendering at the City of Cape Town were crippling an already struggling industry and contributing to job losses.
The forum adds that activist groups Reclaim the City and Ndifuna Ukwazi hosted an event in mid-July to mark the “second anniversary of empty promises”. The activist groups stated during the event that it had been two years since the city had promised to develop these parcels of land in Woodstock and Salt River.
With private sector companies spending time and money during RFP processes, WCPDF chairperson Deon van Zyl questions whether the city should be taken seriously in future when similar calls for proposals are made.
He accuses the city of falling foul of its own procurement processes and having an obsessive audit culture and internal political in-fighting.
WCPDF states, on behalf of its property development and construction members, that the pace of obtaining statutory process approvals from the City of Cape Town is slow.
The forum in May called on the Western Cape Premier to institute an “economic war room”, which Premier Alan Winde responded to by announcing the formation of a “war room” during his State of the Province address, which Van Zyl says should have scrutinised the city’s procurement process.
In a statement released on Monday, the city said it remained determined to deliver on the social housing projects around the city centre.
“The City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Directorate remains committed to providing hundreds of affordable and social housing opportunities around the city centre on sites such as at the Salt River Market, Woodstock Hospital and Pine road, as well as other areas across the city.
“Despite conflicting reports, the city can confirm that the affordable social housing opportunities planned for the Salt River Market site and the Pine road site are still on track and are making progress. The Pickwick street transitional housing site was completed in May.”
Explaining further, the city said the rezoning application for the Salt River Market site was approved by the Municipal Planning Tribunal. The appeals period expired in June and an appeals report will be referred to the Mayor’s Appeal Committee for a decision.
The city is awaiting approval for the building plans for the Pine road social housing project.
In May, residents who were living in the informal settlement in Pine road were moved to the Pickwick transitional housing site, which avails the land in Pine road to provide about 240 social housing (affordable rental) opportunities.
The city’s Supply Chain Management Bid Adjudication Committee cancelled the RFPs for the Woodstock Hospital site, the public open space next to Woodstock Hospital, Fruit and Veg in Roeland street, New Market street and the Pickwick street social housing site, on July 29.
“This is so that the city can follow a different process for the disposal of these sites that are earmarked for social housing opportunities, and to ensure that we comply with the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations.
“Each of these sites has its own complexities and will trigger different land use application processes and, therefore, it is vital that due processes are followed,” the city stated.
The city’s Human Settlements Directorate will repackage the RFP for each of these five sites in due course. The new RFP will include the updated information pertaining to current valuations of the land to ensure a more efficient process when considering the disposal of the parcels of land for social housing opportunities.
Currently, the directorate is working on the various land use application processes required for the specific sites.
The city acknowledged that there was a dire need for housing opportunities that are situated on well-located land, close to employment opportunities and economic nodes.
“Yet, there are no quick fixes. We remain committed to building integrated communities with different types of residential developments based on a mix of income groups and circumstances. Social housing is but one of the avenues that we are investing in to provide more affordable housing opportunities for our people.
“We will continue to assess city-owned land, including in and near the Cape Town central business district, to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for housing opportunities.”