South African housing lobbyist Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) has released a report damning the spiralling cost of living in Cape Town.
The group claim that the escalating cost of property – to both buy and rent – are causing many people to be relocated against their will.
The NU has even stated that this rapid displacement of people, which mostly affects the city’s poorer inhabitants, has a feel of apartheid.
According to NU, only 13% of purchasers in Cape Town are first-time buyers, with the majority of properties being purchased for investment purposes. This has resulted in spiralling house prices, with the city having the highest prices in South Africa.
Despite this, prices are still increasing year-on-year beyond inflation. Last year, Cape Town had the third-highest annual property inflation in the world at 16.1% – beaten only by Shanghai and Vancouver.
The average home in the South African city now costs just over R1 million. In order to afford a home, a resident must earn three times the average annual income of R156,000 in order to qualify for a mortgage.
The NU report highlights how rapid gentrification is creating a vicious cycle.
“When residents cannot afford the increasing rentals, they are sent to one of the city’s relocation camps like Wolwerivier or Blikkiesdorp, which are far away from the CBD,” claims the group.
“Families and providers then have to spend more on travel to work, making their situation even more desperate and driving youths – with fewer opportunities for education and employment – to gang culture.”
Ndifuna Ukwazi is proposing that abandoned buildings, such as old hospitals and disused industrial spaces, should be used as temporary living spaces for those citizens being outmuscled by big businesses.