Petition gaining steam

This cartoon was sketched by Cape Town resident Mark Jackson, who also started a petition in response to the City of Cape Town's Maiden's Cove development plan.

A petition calling for residents to boycott the DA in the local elections next month because of the Maiden’s Cove development proposal, has been welcomed by the Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CBRRA).

The online petition and Facebook group, called Save Cape Town, was started by City Bowl resident Mark Jackson.

By Tuesday evening it had 794 signatures.

The Maiden’s Cove development plan has been met with resistance from residents across Cape

Town who have been relaying their memories of the area since it was first announced.

The petition reads: “If you allow (Mayor) De Lille to proceed with the sale of our public land, at Maiden’s Cove and Clifton, to private developers, for the construction of 50-odd luxury town-houses, a hotel, a shopping centre and 750-car garage, we are threatening we will not vote DA in the coming elections.

“The beloved Maiden’s Cove nature reserve and Clifton area is a world famous tourist attraction, precisely because of its incredible beauty, its simplicity, its heritage value, and its public open space. After more than a hundred years of preservation from developers, all this will now be lost, to us and to future generations, and for what? – yet more ugly town-housing, a shopping centre we don’t want, a massive paid-parking lot and a snobby hotel?”

Mr Jackson said he started the petition because he loves Cape Town.

“I’m not against development but it has to be done in the right way. They shouldn’t be in a rush to sell off prime public land.”

“They are using their densificaiton policy like a sledgehammer. Council seems to be ignoring objections. Now is a time for them to listen to the voice of the people before they go to the elections.”

Mr Jackson said he was concerned that the City was not sharing information about the Atlantic Seaboard’s “outdated” sewerage system and the traffic impact assesment.

“I’m concerned about what impact any new development could have on these things,” he said.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town said eight bids had been received in response to the development proposal after tenders were invited earlier this year to buy and lease of portions of three City-owned erven in Clifton and Camps Bay. This was despite wide-spread objections from various civic organisations (“City’s Clifton tender invite courts controversy”, Atlantic Sun, March 17).

The City said that a Bid Evaluation Report would be made available to the public.

Chris Willemse, chairperson of the CBRRA, said they support the petition and that they were concerned that the City of Cape Town was rushed to sell prime public land. “CBRRA believes the petition to be representative of the feelings of most Capetonians who are sick and tired of the DA-led City selling off valuable land assets to its friends in the development industry.

“The City has repeatedly misrepresented the facts surrounding this important matter, in its dealings with the people of Cape Town – and the public participation process has simply been a farce – just a box-ticking exercise,” added Mr Willemse.

He said the City claimed that revenue raised by the Maidens Cove development would be used to fund social housing – but had been very short on detail. “The sale by the DA of the Tafelberg school site – and the subsequent successful High Court action against that sale – doesn’t inspire any confidence that the DA are in any way committed to such housing. “The concerns remain the DA’s mad rush to sell off valuable public open space land to the development industry for short-term gain by a few very wealthy individuals. This land will be lost forever,” stressed Mr Willemse.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said they had noted the petition about Maiden’s Cove and unrelated developments across the metro doing the rounds.

Mr Neilson said the intention at Maidens Cove was to increase the public space, not to decrease it. The public facilities would be enhanced, including walkways all the way from Camps Bay to Bantry Bay, and from Maiden’s Cove to Kloof Nek. This has been made clear throughout the extensive process that has been followed, he said.

“It is completely false to claim that we are reducing public access. The City is concerned about the lies that are being spread.

“The Clifton development has gone through an open, competitive bidding processes. It is open to see that no one has been given any kind of preferential treatment whatsoever. Those who have kept making false claims, should be challenged to show the proof of their wild, unsubstantiated claims.”

He said that an open tender, with a long time period, was available to all. “The improvements that are being made to the public area and facilities will be paid for by the developer. It will not be coming out of City budgets. Thus this funding for amenities upgrades only arises because of this development and is related to the enhancement of the general area around the development.”

The City said The Bid Evaluation Report would be a public document once it was tabled before the Bid Adjudication Committee meeting, the date of which is still to be determined.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Affordbale Housing Africa conference on Monday July 18, the City’s mayco member for human settlements, Benedicta Van Minnen, said the City had earmarked R230 million for affordable housing. “We are also looking at innovative ways to help us carry the cost of public infrastructure and social housing developments. One example is the terms and conditions set in the tender that was issued for the development of City-owned erven in the Clifton and Camps Bay area where tenderers have been invited to participate in the purchase and lease of portions of these erven. The evaluation of bids received is currently under way.

“Apart from the condition that the private sector would be responsible for the cost of the upgrade of the public infrastructure, a requirement has also been set to drive social housing and improved community integration. As such 10 percent of the financial offer of the sale/lease proceeds by the successful tenderer will be earmarked for future City-developed, near inner-city social housing projects,” said Ms Van Minnen.