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To: Ruby Gelderbloem, The City of Cape Town Director of Property Management

Public land must benefit all Capetonians - Object to the King David Mowbray Golf Course Lease

Campaign created by
Ndifuna Ukwazi

This campaign has ended.

Public land must benefit all Capetonians - Object to the King David Mowbray Golf Course Lease

Remember our call for the Rondebosch Golf Course to be used for affordable housing in January this year [1]? We are still waiting for the City of Cape Town to make a decision on that lease but in the meantime, it’s proposing to lease the land next door to another golf club - King David Mowbray Golf Course. We cannot fold our arms while the City of Cape Town chips away at our well-located public land - land that could better be used to reverse Cape Town’s apartheid legacy.

You have the power to stop the City of Cape Town’s unjust and exclusive use of public land. But we have to act now, we only have until Monday 25 August 2020 to make our voices heard. Make a submission to object to the lease renewal of 49,5 hectares of prime public land that should be used for affordable housing.

The City of Cape Town has asked the public to submit comments or objections to their plans to renew the lease of 49,5 hectares of City-owned land (the equivalent of 49 rugby fields or a small suburb) to the King David Mowbray Golf Course for a period of ten years at a rental of R11 500 per year – that’s just over R950 a month or R19 per hectare per month [2]. This prime public land is close to the best hospitals, top-performing schools in the province and two train stations – making it perfect for the development of affordable housing. Yet the City plans to lease this land to a golf club for the exclusive use of its members, despite being right next door to Rondebosch Golf Club (which is roughly the same size and also on public land).

Why is this important?

Over the last couple of weeks, the City of Cape Town has said that it is experiencing an unprecedented increase in poor people occupying vacant land. The vast majority of people occupy land out of necessity- they have nowhere else to go [3]. And a huge part of why people have nowhere else to go is because the state – at all levels – has failed to satisfy the need for housing or redistribute well-located land.

This failure has exacerbated spatial inequality in Cape Town – which is the most spatially divided city in the country in terms of race and class. The City has consistently blamed this spatial injustice on the lack of well-located land that could be used for affordable housing. But the City often misses the most obvious solution: it already owns massive pieces of land in well-located areas. Land that is unused or not being used to its full potential, that could provide ample space for affordable housing and reverse the City’s apartheid legacy.

Last year, Ndifuna Ukwazi released a research report exposing how the City is disposing of the public land it owns by leasing it to private organisations at massively discounted rentals [4]. This land includes parking lots that are empty for up to 18 hours a day, bowling greens with very few members, and massive golf courses that provide enjoyment to only a few wealthy residents on the weekends. This is an inefficient, exclusive and unsustainable way to deal with well-located public land. Surely this land should be put to better use?

While the City has increased the rental tariff it charges for sporting purposes, which means that it will charge King David Mowbray Golf Course is R11 500 per year (as opposed to the R1 095 a year that it plans on charging Rondebosch Golf Club), this misses the point. Aside from still being an incredibly low rental for this land, it does not address the City’s obligation to redistribute public land. This land-use does not align with the City’s own inclusive development priorities and fails to give effect to the Constitution’s commitment to housing and equitable access to land.

The redevelopment of the land leased to the King David Mowbray Golf Course offers a vital opportunity to act on a new vision for a just and more equal Cape Town. The land could be used to create an inclusive, environmentally sensitive suburb, with a positive urban environment and inclusive green spaces that bring people together rather than tear them apart.

If we are serious about addressing Cape Town’s apartheid legacy, we need to make our voices heard. Object to the lease renewal of this prime public land that should be used for affordable housing before 25 August 2020.

Ndifuna Ukwazi has put together this progressive submission you can use when sending in your own objection. We invite you to use this as a draft and tailor it to make your voice heard. If enough of us send in our objections we can stop the City of Cape Town from renewing the King David Mowbray Golf Course lease.

[2] City of Cape Town. 24 July 2020. Lease: Erven 29453, 29449, 29455, 32716 Cape Town, Raapenberg Road, Mowbray. Cape Argus. Available:
[3] Bosch, Hazell and Clark. 2020. Making Room for Housing. Edited version published by Weekend Argus and IOL News on 8 August 2020. Full version available:
[4] Ndifuna Ukwazi. 2019. Cape Town’s Failure to Redistribute Land. Available:

Cape Town, South Africa

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2020-08-20 15:33:42 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2020-08-18 14:26:48 +0200

500 signatures reached

2020-08-17 14:46:24 +0200

100 signatures reached

2020-08-17 11:46:09 +0200

50 signatures reached

2020-08-17 10:13:23 +0200

25 signatures reached

2020-08-17 08:30:13 +0200

10 signatures reached