Owners of a mansion in Fresnaye’s Avenue St Bartholomew have come under fire from neighbours for their driveway which is located right in the middle of the public street.
The owners lease the 336m2 space from the City of Cape Town for R2 100 a month.
Residents of Upper Fresnaye living in De Wet Road, Ocean View Drive, Ave St Bartholomew, Arcadia Road, Top Road and Head Road have formed a group called Bartholomew Road Action Group to urge council to reopen the road.
They say the parking space blocks a vital access road and the way for emergency services.
The group sent the Atlantic Sun information, dating back to 2008, when the initial lease commenced for a period of 10 years. It was then extended for another five years and, according to the group, the lease is presently renewed monthly.
The Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association is objecting to the renewal.
Jared Rossouw, co-director at activist organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi, said such leases of public land must be stopped.
“Residents are more concerned about the closure of the road, this particular land will be rented for R2 100 per month, which is far below the market rate, considering the location. Domestic workers pay more for a 10m2 room in a basement in the area than the Sachs Trust pays for a piece of land 30 times bigger. This is a state subsidy on the best land to those who need land the least. We need to stop ad hoc leases on our public land in well-located areas as they come up for renewal, and put them back on the table for land reform, redress and an integrated city.”
Ward 54 councillor, Shanye Ramsay said she had been trying to find out “more information” as she is not aware of the history of the arrangement but the lease is currently under review.
Stuart Diamond, mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management, said: “The City of Cape Town’s Property Management Department confirms that the unconstructed portion of road is currently being leased to the abutting owner and the lease is up for renewal. The new proposed lease will have a rental determined by the property’s value at current market rates.”
One man said on Facebook said: “Only Fresnaye locals should be concerned with how this City land is used? It’s exactly this attitude that means that local elites capture the best land in the best areas – because they think it’s theirs. The land belongs to a City of 4 million people. PS there are also quite a few very pissed off Sea Point locals who pay more to rent a place in a basement than this millionaire family pays for 336m2 in the most expensive suburb on the continent.”
Another resident said: “Avenue St Bartholomew is a public road.The closure of the road is for the principal benefit of a single home-owner. The blockage represents a serious safety risk for residents arising from fires or other emergencies in the area (as happens every couple years when there are serious mountain fires).”
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