CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape Public Works Department says its application to the City of Cape Town to rezone the Somerset Hospitalprecinct does not imply the historic health facility is being shut down.

The department was responding to civil organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi‘s concerns about a proposed mixed-use development for the area which includes shops, residential units and hotels.

The group is worried that affordable housing on the site is an afterthought.

Ndifuna Ukwazi has complained the province’s redevelopment proposal makes mention of just 300 affordable housing units.

The Public Works Department’s Siphesihle Dube says this figure was stated as a minimum in their proposal.

“That’s a minimum that was suggested for specifically the Helen Bowden side, which is part of the greater precinct.”

Dube says there are no immediate plans to close the Somerset Hospital.

“So the suggestion now that is being made by Ndifuna Ukwazi, that this government is trying to shut down a hospital and disenfranchise thousands of people, is just false.”

He says the overall site has not been declared as surplus and that the department has not initiated a process of selling it.

Members of the public have until Friday to comment on the province’s application, which was submitted to the City of Cape Town in September.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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