Residents and developer back in court

Bo-Kaap residents outside the Western Cape High Court on Monday May 13.

The development on 40 Lion Street is once again at the centre of a battle between Bo-Kaap residents and Blok Urban developers.

On Monday May 13, the community was back in the Western Cape High Court opposing the substitution of ownership of 40 Lion Street by Blok Properties to Prime Point Properties. According to the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers, Blok served the application on Monday May 6 and the matter was set down for hearing on Monday May 13.

Followingthis move,thecivic said the developers showedcomplete disrespecttothe communityduringthe month of Ramadaan.

“The application was also brought on the eve of the Bo-Kaap’s victory of having 19 sites declared as national heritage sites by the national Department of Arts and Culture,” said Jacky Poking, Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association secretary.

The issue with the said development dates back to November 2017, when residents were up in arms over the proposed development, which they said would impact on the heritage of the area. The community submitted more than 500 objections to the City in respect of the development of the property (“Uproar over Lion Street proposal,” Atlantic Sun December 14 2017).

The community started to protest against the development in April last year.

In July last year, residents picketed outside the high court to oppose the court interdict by Blok and air their grievances relating to developments in their area. Blok withdrew its application, stating that they’d engage with the community.

This never happened residents said, claiming that Blok never engaged with them. Countering this, Blok claimed that an attempt to positively engage with “a small group of individuals” who were unlawfullyinterferingwithconstruction deliveries to the Lion Street site had been met withcontempt. As such law en-
forcement had ad-
visedBlokto approach the courts in order to ensure safe deliveries to the site, they said.

In November last year, Blok Properties brought an interdict application against “all other persons causing obstructions, unlawfully conducting themselves or attempting to cause obstructions”. This caused chaos as the residents blocked the crane that tried to enter the area to the construction site (“Chaos as Bo-Kaap residents block crane,” Atlantic Sun, November 22 2018).

Blok no longer possesses the legal standing to pursue their relief sought in the initial interdict application.

According to the Cape Argus, the new owners of the building stated: “The applicant seeks to persist with the relief sought by Blok in both applications.”

The civic association has vowed to request the South African Revenue Services to investigate the sale of the property from Blok to Prime Point Properties.

“The Bo-Kaap will remain resilient and steadfast in its fight against gentrification as the City and developers attempt to purge the city of poor and working-class people. It will continue to oppose developers who have no regard for the heritage, culture and history of the area and whose only goal is to fill their capitalist pockets,” they said.

The matter has been postponed to Monday May 27.