Activist organisation and law centre, Ndifuna Ukwazi, has welcomed the agreement between the public broadcaster and the Department of Human Settlements over the ownership of SABC buildings in Sea Point, on the Cape Peninsula.

The SABC had planned to auction the property, but the Housing Development Agency stepped in and said it now will take ownership of it.

Sea Point is an affluent suburb that lies between the sea and Lions Head. Over the last 15 years, it has become one of the most sought after residential areas on the peninsula. Single bedroom apartments, without the spectacular vistas, are priced upwards of a million rand.

It’s far out of reach for average to low-income households. For many who work in this area, the exorbitant rent is simply unattainable. Rocklands Villas, situated in Sea Point, belongs to the SABC. The apartment block served as accommodation for SABC employees. But it’s been decades since it’s been in use and has fallen into ruin. An agreement has been reached between the department of human settlements and the SABC.

“We remain committed to redress the pre-1994 spatial segregation by ensuring that we acquire strategic land parcels for human settlements development. The building we have acquired from SABC will make it possible for us to respond to the housing needs of our people in the City of Cape Town said Minister (Lindiwe) Sisulu. What we have achieved with all our social partners is a clear indication that together we can do more to change the lives of our people for better,” says the spokesperson for the department of human settlements, Steve Motale.

Ndifuna Ukwazi, an advocacy group along with Reclaim the City, says public assets should not be viewed as commodities to be sold to the highest bidder. It should be used to develop public and affordable housing in order to advance incivility and address apartheid spatial planning.

“It cannot that public property could be used as a recovery strategy for maladministration and mismanagement of finances of the SABC.  We’ve been saying that it can never be that the maladministration and mismanagement be visited upon poor people, upon the domestic workers, upon the security guards that need housing. The SABC had an obligation, even guided by existing policies that public land and public assets before you dispose of them, you must check with other  state entities with they will not use that site for public good. Therefore we are happy that they have taken this rational decision” says Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Buhle Booi.

The Department of Human Settlements says Minister Lindiwe Sisulu indicated in her latest budget vote that the Department of Human Settlements has taken advantage of processes of land redistribution to request that all urban state land should be released for social housing.

Angry residents oppose auctioning of SABC buildings in Cape Town: