SCA unanimously upholds City appeal in ‘Bromwell Street’ matter
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has unanimously upheld the City of Cape Town’s appeal in the ‘Bromwell Street’ matter, dismissing the High Court ruling, which deemed the City’s housing programme unconstitutional and invalid. Read more below:
The applicants in the Bromwell matter had demanded temporary emergency housing in the specific areas of Salt River, Woodstock or the inner City, rejecting all offers of temporary emergency housing made by the City at the time. This followed the High Court granting an eviction order for a privately-owned property at Bromwell Street, Woodstock.
Due to a scarcity of land and prohibitive costs, the City has a policy of delivering affordable social rental housing on the limited municipal-owned land available to it for housing within central Cape Town. This land is not earmarked for temporary emergency housing as the applicants demanded.
The Western Cape High Court order, which effectively ruled that the City was obliged to provide temporary emergency housing in these well located areas, and that its policy in this respect was unconstitutional, was appealed by the City on the basis that the ruling would fundamentally compromise the City’s social housing rollout in the inner city and surrounds.
The SCA agreed and found that “the City was entitled to adapt its housing programme to address the effects of gentrification, among other challenges. It did so by identifying Woodstock, Salt River and the surrounds as areas to develop affordable social housing. It is not clear what could be objectionable about the City seeking to build affordable houses in the inner city as part of addressing the legacy of apartheid spatial planning.”