The matter regarding what has been described as a “monster” 18-storey development in Buitengracht Street, Bo-Kaap, has now reached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
In 2018, the Western Cape High Court dismissed the community’s objection to the development and they are now challenging this.
The City approved the R1billion development, which will include more than 200 apartments and three basement levels of parking.
This proposal met with massive resistance from both the people of the Bo-Kaap as well as supporters from around Cape Town and the world, with over 1 200 individual objections being logged.
The residents argued that the development would cause traffic congestion and it would have an extremely negative impact on the heritage significance of the area that would be felt for generations to come.
The Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association (BKCRA) said they were appealing against the decision of the Western Cape High Court to dismiss an application brought by the BKCRA and others to review and set aside a decision of the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) in 2016 and an appeal decision by the then mayor, Patricia de Lille in 2017.
Both decisions involved the approval of four separate but inter-related applications in respect of two erfs, 144698 and 8210, collectively making “The Monster Building”.
The City argued that the applicants challenged every aspect of the City’s decision-making and the processes followed and the court found no merit in any of those challenges.
BKCRA said: “We view this case as having a potential domino effect. If allowed to go-ahead, it paves the way as precedent for a wall of 60m high-income developments to be built along the Buitengracht Street, effectively cutting off Bo-Kaap from the city, thus reinforcing the buffer zone mentality of Apartheid Spatial planning.We know that this will be a building for the wealthy few.
“And we ask how many more people will be displaced and economically forced out of Bo-Kaap by this building as the rates continue to rise? Economic apartheid is on the rise all over Cape Town, and in approving this 18-storey building on the sly, without gaining community comment and in the midst of the widely publicised Heritage Protection Overlay Zone, the City has once again shown that it is anti-poor, anti-communities and anti-heritage,” they said.