Somerset Hospital re-zoning is critical for any housing to be built - Zille

There has been widespread outrage over a multi billion-rand development planned for the Somerset Hospital precinct - with affordable housing as an afterthought.

The Cape Argus reports that civil society and the local rate payer's association in Green Point opposed a proposal to rezone the Somerset Hospital between the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Town Stadium precinct into a mixed-used development, which would include a hotel, 1 000 luxury apartments, a restaurant and places of entertainment.

Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille says the re-zoning is critical to build any housing there at all.

The bottom line is that we've asked for the re-zoning of the whole Somerset Hospital site. But the three hundred affordable units that we specifically referred to, does not refer to the whole site. It only refers to the Helen Bowden nurses home component of it.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

It's completely wrong to say that there will only be three hundred in total on that site. The application itself says a minimum of three hundred.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

If you want to have a re-zoning application you have to have a broad brush development plan submitted explains Zille.

She says they've applied for a specific zoning which allows for a whole range of different uses from housing to boarding houses, flats, place of worship, business premises etc.

She says they cannot commit to more units because they need to ensure that the project is viable and that there is cross subsidisation from other developments to make those units affordable.

You cannot give some people, who are a poor, a subsidy worth one and a half to two million rand and other people a subsidy worth a hundred and twenty thousand rand. That would not pass constitutional muster.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

She says the only way to balance a governments subsidy is to ensure that top dollar is paid for the private parts of that development on which they then cross subsidise.

Then the proper state subsidy will extend to various portions of that site for affordable housing, she adds.

It can't be rational or equitable in terms of the Constitution says Zille.

Click on the audio below for the full interview:

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