City’s briefing session labelled a farce

MATTHEW HIRSCH

The City of Cape Town hosted a briefing session last week for parties interested in leasing the Good Hope Centre.

This is despite several objections and a possible court case opposing the lease.

The process to oppose the lease has been lodged by several civic organisations including the Bo-Kaap Civic organisation, the Cape Malay Choir Board as well as the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) (“Legal action looms over Good Hope Centre”, Atlantic Sun, April 14).

The attorney representing the three groups, Shaheed Isaacs, confirmed that a letter had been sent to the City of Cape Town.

Sactwu secretary Fagmie Abrahams, criticised the process, calling it a farce.

He said they attended the briefing session hosted by the City last week.

“It is absurd and they are disrespecting the citizens they claim they are working for.”

Mr Abrahams also criticised the public participation process and said the City had been unwilling to engage with them.”This is despite the fact that we had 6 000 people sign an objection. They didn’t even acknowledge that they had received the memorandum. They advertise it in the darkest corner of the newspaper and call that public participation. They claim that they want to generate an income but this money won’t be spent on the poor people.”

He added that they had complained to the City in the past that the facility needed to be upgraded. The annual Sactwu Spring Queen and Fashion Pageant was an event that saw thousands flock to the Good Hope Centre. At the very least the City could have engaged with the organisations who were using it. “It is not perfect but it should be used as a social venue for the Cape Town community,” said Mr Abrahams.

The tender for the lease is currently being advertised and the closing date for submissions is Thursday May 19.

Garreth Bloor, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, said in-principle approval for the lease of the facility was recommended by sub-council in January and approved by council in March.

“The City advertised its intent to lease the Good Hope Centre to entities within the film industry from October 23 to November 30 2015. Council considered all the comments and objections received following the public participation process.”

He said the lease will be for a period of two years and 11 months.

“The lease will ensure continued usage of the facility during the lease period. The City’s expenditure for the facility will be reduced as the lease will provide for some of the maintenance to be the responsibility of the lessee. The lease will also generate a commercial rental as well as support the growth of the film industry in Cape Town.”

Mr Bloor added that a decision on the outcome of the tender process is expected in June if the City is able to secure a successful bidder.

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