Residents urged to backhand leasing plans

Highlighted are the portions of land to be leased out by the City of Cape Town.

Activist organisation Ndifuna Ukuwazi is urging Green Point residents to object to the City of Cape Town’s plan to lease out the rundown tennis courts at Old Memorial Sports Club and Three Anchor Bay Tennis Club.

They would like the portions of land, both located on Bill Peters Drive, to instead be rezoned for affordable housing.

Jared Rossouw, co-director at Ndifuna Ukwazi, said the public land could be put to good use.

“We are concerned about how City-owned public land is treated different depending on where it is and who wants to use it. While public land in poor and working class areas is made available for affordable housing, public land in wealthier well-located areas is often reserved for outright sale, or leased at very low rates to clubs, associations and other private interests for the enjoyment of very few residents. This land has the potential to accommodate a good amount of affordable housing and we understand that the law requires the City to prioritise service delivery over other uses, which becomes especially important when combined with its obligation to advance spatial justice.”

The comments came flying in on the Ndifuna Ukwazi Facebook page, with one woman saying: “The double plot seems to be large enough for a high rise of affordable apartments. However, not too high so it becomes a ghetto. What would be great is if those who employ staff in their home have a chance of purchasing on their behalf with the option of paying off a certain proportion and then receiving the title deeds.”

A Sea Point resident said: “Yes, let’s turn this prime real estate area over for affordable accommodation and hope it doesn’t become another overpopulated out of control township of spazas and taxi ranks.”

Rodney Knipe, a representative at Three Anchor Bay Tennis Club, said all their courts are being used.

“Currently three of the five courts and the clubhouse are leased to the Western Province Tennis Club. The courts are used to coach kids from around the Western Cape who do not have facilities in their communities. Many people have said the courts look rundown but the courts are being upgraded and the other courts are being prepared for multi-purpose sporting activities, such as netball; schools who do not have sporting facilities can benefit from it,” he said.

Jenny McQueen, chairperson at Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, took the Atlantic Sun back to 1923 and said the Green Point Common was granted to the City of Cape Town for sports and recreation.

“It is not disposable land and cannot be built upon. The tennis courts are part of the Green Point Common,” she said.

Mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management, Stuart Diamond, said the City had advertised the intention to lease out the two portions of land, the first being Old Memorial Sports Club and three courts at Three Anchor Bay Tennis Club.

“The intention is to lease the two portions together via a tender process for the purpose of developing a multi-purpose sports complex which could include but is not limited to mini-soccer, tennis and skateboarding.

“The aim is to establish an environment for a variety of sporting codes, accommodating both traditional and modern sports such as paragliding, running, cycling, mountain climbing, etc.This land falls within the Green Point Common and its proposed usage is in line with the Green Point Common Record of Decision dated 30 June 2008.”