Opposition parties have lashed out at the City’s granting of an effectively 99-year lease for a tract of land on Granger Bay Boulevard.
At a council meeting last Thursday, the City approved the proposed development of erf 2189 in Green Point by Devmark Commercial (Pty) Ltd.
The land is currently used for Cape Town Stadium overflow parking.
According to the minutes of the meeting, approval was granted to Devmark Commercial (Pty) Ltd to lease the land for R1 300 000 a month for the initial period of 40 years, with the first option to renew for 30 years and the second option to renew for 29 years.
The CCC, EFF, GOOD party, and the PAC, however, all objected to the proposal for the 7175 m2 of unoccupied land on Granger Bay Boulevard.
“We have a backlog when it comes to housing. People need houses, so we are of the view that the City can use that land for social housing,” said Ntsikelelo Tyandela, the EFF party leader in the Western Cape.
“The lease of 99 years is of serious concern. Why would the City lease this land to one specific company? Who would benefit from this capitalist system? There is no inclusivity and it seems they don’t want black people to live closer to town and they (City) running it like it’s their business,” he added.
Dawayne Jacobs from the CCC agreed that the 99-year lease was problematic and reminiscent of Apartheid-era spatial planning.
“The City of Cape Town led by the Democratic Alliance are taking us back into Apartheid by giving companies 99-year leases and this also forms part of state capture as no other company, community or any other local stakeholder will ever get an opportunity lease prime land like this in the Green Point area,” said Mr Jacobs.
Suzette Little, the GOOD party’s spokesperson, believes that very little is being done for social housing and that this site should include a housing complex for young professionals looking to relocate closer to town.
“Public land must be used for public good, meaning whatever development takes place there has to be restitution, there has to be spatial justice to do away with this Apartheid spatial planning that we see within the city,” said Ms Little.
Despite the objections, Ward 54 councillor Nicola Jowell said the proposal was eight years in the making and would boost economic development and create jobs.
“During that time it went out to full public participation and there were no objections received. As part of the process it is also presented at sub-council where no objection was received. The advertising that went out was for tender proposals in a competitive tendering process. The lease will unlock significant financial benefit to the City which will be used to enhance service delivery across the city,” said Ms Jowell.
The City’s mayoral committee member for economic growth, James Vos, said the DA supported the decision.
“The tender was awarded, this is the last step,” said Mr Vos.
Mr Vos added that the bidder was required to submit building plans and acquire national building regulation approvals before any building development started, and added that social housing was not an option.
“The site is situated on the Green Point common, which may not be alienated. The Granger Bay site packs opportunity beyond its modest footprint. The development of the site was offered by means of a public tender which proposed the long term lease of the erf in exchange for a market related rental,” he said.
He said the City’s objective was that the development and use of this property contribute to the precinct and be a catalyst for commercialisation.