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Friday, 26 June 2009

NOTE: CBRRA Subscriptions

Please can everyone check whether they paid their subscription and do so if they have not yet.
You can pay online or manually by depositing to this banking details and email or fax us your proof of payment:
First National Bank, Branch #201709, Account #62062797934. Reference: Legal fund.

To obtain further information, look on this blog or contact:
Tel/fax: 021 438 8287
Or on the Postal address:
CBRRA, PO Box 32293, Camps Bay 8040

ARGUS Jun 09: Resident's Plans Causes Tension

A storm is brewing between a Bakoven homeowner and his neighbours over his proposals to extend his house in the expensive seaside suburb which they claim will wreck their picturesque views.

Bertrand Phillips's neighbours in Kreef Lane have slammed the proposed extension which, so far, is a temporary framework of wooden poles that give an idea of the extent of building.

Phillips has missed the five-day deadline - set out in a lawyer's letter on behalf of four residents - to remove the structure.

The city council, the neighbours say, does not allow residents to change the structures of their homes. If the extension went ahead, their sea views would be ruined.

House prices in the scenic enclave start at about R5-million, spiralling to as high as R30m. A local estate agent said a similar bungalow to Phil-lips's, with no drastic alterations, had been sold recently for R12m.

The city confirmed that when the owner approached the Environmental Heritage Management Section about the proposed extensions, they had asked him to build a profile of the planned alteration.

He had since been informed that the proposal was "outside the certified maximum development envelope", and would not be supported by the city.

The lawyers' letter from the four neighbours formally records their objections to the proposed alterations and gives Phillips five days in which to remove the structure.

The letter was dated May 29, but now, almost two weeks later, the frame remains intact.

One resident called for the structure to be removed urgently.

Another, who did not wish to be named, said they had told the owner verbally that they did not approve, but were told that the structure was only in order to effect a small alteration to the roof of the house.

Another neighbour said their fear was that if the development was allowed, it would start a "scary trend".

"What if he gets away with this and it sets a precedent? It will kill the whole feel of the area. We just think this is totally wrong."

The estate agent said the proposed alteration would be a "real scar" in the area.

"The place will lose its charm.

"This simply can't happen. There is no question about it."

Chris Willemse, chairperson of the Camps Bay Ratepayers' Association's development body, said the association was aware of the residents' concerns. But he pointed out that the extension was only a proposal at this stage, so they had not yet taken any action.

"When we are officially notified, we will bring the applicant and the affected neighbours together.

"If the neighbours are rightfully outraged, we will hopefully try to reach some kind of compromise," he said.

The City of Cape Town's Charles Cooper confirmed that a portion of the lawyer's letter, relating to Section 112 of the Municipality of the City of Cape Town: Zoning Scheme Regulations, was in fact correct.

It said that "no point on any structure erected or to be erected on any site shall project or extend beyond the maximum development envelope".

Cooper said the bungalow fell within the declared Heritage Area.

The city had inspected the mock-up of the planned alteration on June 2 and had informed Phillips that his proposal was outside the certified maximum development envelope and would not be supported by the city.

He emphasised that the existing structure was there "only for discussion purposes", and that the city had not yet received an application in respect of this property.

Homeowner Phillips, however, has confirmed that he will apply to the city for the alteration to the maximum development envelope.

"Those are temporary poles that show what the intended full structure will look like," he said, adding that he had followed all the correct procedures because he wanted to extend his home for his family.

"I have three children, and I need more space for my family," Phillips said.

By Ziyanda Sidumo and Bronwynne Jooste

Read the Article online ‹‹ here ››

NEWS Jun 09: Oudekraal



“The Oudekraal property on the western slopes of Table Mountain is one of the top handful of undeveloped urban land parcels anywhere in the world and its future is a matter of international and not just local concern”. So stated the Argus newspaper on 5 June 2009 after a recent meeting held by a possible Developer with important conservationalists and stakeholders.

This pristine property, with the exception of the Oudekraal Hotel, between the southern border of Camps Bay and the northern boundary of Llandudno, is owned by Mr. Kasper Wiehahn. He has been involved in litigation against the Cape Town City Council for many years in an attempt to enable him to develop them after his father’s applications to do so were turned down in the 1950s on technicalities and the presence of Muslim graves.

At present, Mr. Wiehahn has appealed to the Supreme Court to have judgments in previous court cases against him overturned and this case is currently still ongoing.

Recently, Mr. Wiehahn has entered into an agreement with a Developer, Property Promotions and Management (Pty) Ltd, that it be given an option to purchase all the erven, regardless of the outcome of the present court case, should it consider the properties financially viable to develop.

Whereas Mr, Wiehahn is bound by the agreement to sell, depending on the price offered being acceptable, the Developer can elect not to make an offer to purchase, should he find that the financial feasibility is not favourable or public reaction is insuperable.

To this end, the potential Developer has been given permission by Mr. Wiehahn’s company, Oudekraal Estates, to make an environmental investigation of the site and examine all the issues and characteristics thereof. It is currently appointing expert consultants over a wide range of disciplines to complete a preliminary report to enable the Developer to decide as to whether to invest a considerable mount of risk capital to convince it of its feasibility and possibility.


To this end, Messrs. Doug Jeffery Environmental Consultants, acting for the Developer, held a meeting with important invited stakeholders and conservationalists on 4 June 2009 to brief them and to obtain an initial reaction from them. CBRRA was invited as a stakeholder.

The Consultants stressed that no development plans were on the table, that no formal statutory EIA study or application process for development had started and that over the next six months the Developer would concentrate on a range of specialist studies on issues like flora, fauna, geology, water, heritage and Muslim graves existing on the sites.

The whole area was divided into seven sub-erven, each with agricultural zoning with one single dwelling being permitted on each sub-erf.

The Wiehahns had applied for the development of the 44 hectare sub-erf (Portion 7) nearest to Camps Bay being developed into a township, which had been disallowed by the Council.

This information gathering initiative was aimed at gathering sufficient baseline material to see whether any of the total 370 hectares were suitable for possible development.

After completion of the technical report, the Developer would then take a decision on whether and how to proceed or not. The Developer had the right not to take up its option if it so decided.

The meeting cautioned the Developer that there could be massive opposition to any development on the site, even if the specialist studies did indicate that development was feasible and it was not a logical conclusion that development would automatically follow a positive environmental report.

Furthermore, the invited audience also advised the Developer that their presence at these meetings did not bind them to the support of any development, regardless of their advice as to whether the site was suitable for development or not.


The Environmental Consultants hope to have the environmental report finished before the end of this year (2009) and in due course, CBRRA hopes to bring their presentation of the report to one of our future public meetings.

This meeting, therefore will not be asked to vote on what it thinks should or should not be done on the site. This will be left to future meetings once the whole investigatory process is further down the line or is completed. A full public participation process has been promised should the Developer decide to proceed with a proposal in due course.

As the closest stakeholder to the site, CBRRA is determined to keep a careful watching brief on all stages of the present investigatory process and will keep its public fully informed every step along the way.

Read a copy of the judgement ‹‹here››.

John Powell

PROPERTY Mar 09: Beauty and the Beach

Affectionately known as The Strip, the Camps Bay beachfront has it all – perfect palms, a crescent of white sand where bronzed beach-goers glisten in the sun while sipping cocktails behind Gucci shades, and a beautiful, yacht-filled, turquoise bay.

This golden view fronts a suburb that is the envy of beach destinations worldwide. To visitors, Camps Bay is a dazzling, self-contained holiday resort where you can shop at exclusive boutiques, dine at a vast selection of restaurants, party in glamorous style, tan, paraglide, enjoy matchless mountain walks and view cutting-edge architecture – all under the breathtaking gaze of Cape Town’s towering sphinx and against the backdrop of the exquisite Twelve Apostles mountains.

But Camps Bay wasn’t always a playground for local and international glitterati; this is just one of its alluring personalities, and its newest. From the 1940s to the ’60s, it was literally a one-horse town. A white mare named Philly was the village pet. She roamed the streets freely, and in 1957 was made an official freeman of Camps Bay. Philly belonged to Roy de Beer (known by locals as Bak-Beentjies), a well-remembered Camps Bay character who worked from two huge sheds that stood almost exactly where the parking lot behind Pick n Pay is today. His land was essentially a car graveyard.

A resident who grew up in Camps Bay recalls: ‘Bak-Beentjies had a scrapyard full of cars that he kept meaning to work on, plus every other broken object one could possibly imagine, and living in amongst this metal playground were his 40 or 50 cats and dogs. They seemed to spend all day sleeping under the cars and in old doll prams, enjoying the full attention of their owner. Philly, on the other hand, would wander around, eating people’s flowers and getting fed delicious treats by housewives, who adored her.’

The one-horse town later became a one-horse, one-donkey town when Roy adopted scruffy Nellie. Local children would ride on his back until he’d tire of them; then he’d simply walk under a low branch and knock them off. These hoofed residents are still making Camps Bay’s children smile and watching their village grow – they grin from a huge mural in the entrance hall of Camps Bay High School, as a constant loving reminder of the suburb’s earlier days.

In the early 1800s, when Camps Bay was a backwater suburb that few Capetonians even knew how to get to, lion, leopard and antelope roamed free on the verdant slopes beneath Lion’s Head. Lord Charles Somerset used The Round House (a small building at the foot of Lion’s Head that was originally a guardhouse and later a farmhouse) as his hunting lodge. His tastes were extravagant and he had it fitted with the finest luxuries of the time. Since then, The Round House has been used for various hospitality endeavours. Today the building has been beautifully restored and houses the exquisite Roundhouse Restaurant.

Nightlife and entertainment in Camps Bay began in the Rotunda, which now forms part of the five-star Bay Hotel. The landmark green-roofed, round building was built in 1904 and was used for roller-skating, dancing, silent-movie viewings and, sometimes, even boxing matches. Today, people find their fun a few metres closer to the sea. On the south side of The Strip is Cape Town’s beautiful Theatre on the Bay, where an excellent variety of local and international productions are staged.

Restaurants and bars are dotted all along the beachfront and spill onto the pavement, creating a real café-culture, cocktails-in-the-sun feel.
Owners don’t have it as easy as it may appear, though. Edmonton block, the restaurant block opposite the famous Café Caprice, recently sold on auction for R44-million, and it’s just over 400m2 – a whopping R110 000 a square metre. This exceedingly high value makes it difficult for any commercial venture to be profitable, and restaurants in Camps Bay have a tendency to frequently change hands. Those notable for their staying power include The Bayside Café, The Sandbar, Café Caprice and Blues.

The up side of the situation: there are always new little gems to be discovered. The most recent summer additions are Bungalow and The Kove, which have brought a crisp sense of style to the previously drab ‘petrol-station side’ of Main Road.

The name ‘Camps Bay’ has been around since the 1700s, when Dutch sailor Fredrik Ernst von Kamptz envisaged a relaxing life for himself on a farm where he could look out over the vast ocean rather than scrub the decks of his ship Holland. Von Kamptz found a lonely widow, Anna Koekemoer, who owned a piece of land with an idyllic view. He married her and became the owner of Ravensteyn, the first farm in the area. Despite only living there for 10 years, he managed to make his mark, with the area becoming known as ‘de Baai van Von Kamptz’.
Perceptions change all the time: Cohen’s Folly was the name given to Isidore Cohen’s swift purchase of a large portion of Camps Bay in the 1920s, when it was known as a bushy waste battered by the southeast and northwest winds. He was one of the very few who saw any potential in the area.

Investment folly? Hardly so. The last few decades tell a very different story.

‘I’ve been working in the area for 15 years and have witnessed its meteoric rise from a sleepy suburb to one of Cape Town’s most desirable areas,’ says Barbara Rogers of Pam Golding Properties. ‘It has proved to be a very good investment area. Even in difficult times, Camps Bay has held property values far better than other areas.’

Careen Bernstein of Dogon Group Properties agrees: ‘I’ve spent most of my adult life selling property in Camps Bay; it has certainly been a good investment area for many people. Three years ago we sold a bungalow on Glen Beach for R21-million and it didn’t even have a garage or off-street parking! More recently we sold a property on a very large erf for R20-million. The purchaser knocked down the house that was there and is now building a mansion of note.’

The numbers rise. A two-storey house recently sold for over R30-million, and this on the previously lower-valued, south side of Camps Bay, closest to Hout Bay. ‘Traditionally, The Glen – at the foot of Lion’s Head, on the north side of Camps Bay – was the most sought-after area because it’s more protected from the wind,’ says a property developer in Camps Bay. ‘But in recent years, high prices have been achieved anywhere in the area. People are far more interested in the house and the quality of the views than the location. Anywhere in Camps Bay is prime.’

Ian Slot, managing director of Seeff Properties, says, ‘Years ago, houses in the Rontree area above Camps Bay Drive as well as the area below it were less sought-after. However, with all the magnificent homes around today, there seems to be little differentiation between areas. Investment doubles every five years and is continuing to do so. Entry-level is around R5-million.’

Architecture has embraced the fact that a house and its views are the factors that fetch high prices. Camps Bay is the ideal canvas for architectural firms, like Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, Greg Wright Architects, Archilab Architects and Arthur Quinton Darryl Croome Architects; they can capture the natural splendour, reflect it in their designs and ‘bring the outdoors in’.

One building whose design contrasts with the architectural styles emerging in the area is Sonnekus, the only high-rise building on the beachfront. It was completed in the early 1970s, when new developments were hardly questioned. Once it was up, residents panicked as they realised that the beachfront was legally zoned for towering blocks of flats. The potential for a concrete uprising on the beachfront was quickly squashed when Section 98 of the Zoning Scheme Regulations was introduced; it prescribed that future buildings in Camps Bay were to be restricted to 10 metres in height and could only comprise three storeys.

‘To this day, nobody can tell you with any certainty what this actually means,’ sighs Camps Bay resident Chris Willemse, the head of planning for Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA). ‘We’ve fought many court cases and are willing to keep doing so to keep Camps Bay looking like a residential area. The city’s development approval process is abysmal, mostly favouring unacceptable and often illegal development, but we’re working hard to keep a village feel. The CBRRA is not anti-development, but we’re not prepared to allow our very special suburb to be destroyed for anybody’s short-term gain. The three words we keep in mind when development decisions arise are: “sensitive, sensible, sustainable”.’

Brenda Herbert of Herbert Properties has worked as an estate agent in Camps Bay for 33 years. She has lived in the area for 45 years and is an executive member of the CBRRA. She says, ‘Many developments have been legally “trimmed” to comply with the regulations and to avoid dropping the values of neighbouring properties. Development must obviously happen, but it has to blend in with, not mar, the beauty of the surroundings.’

For those looking to move to the area, the community feel is a draw card, as is the community’s efforts to reduce crime. Bernard Shäfer started Camps Bay Watch in February 2008 as an anti-crime initiative under the auspices of the Camps Bay Community Policing Forum. ‘We’ve had a tremendous impact on crime,’ he says, ‘but as a public organisation we intend to continue changing the way residents co-exist and interact in order to restore a cleaner, safer and better functioning suburb for all.’ Does he think Camps Bay is a safe place to live? ‘Yes, definitely; compared with other areas we are relatively safe.’

Some residents are keen for Camps Bay to become a City Improvement District (CID), Bernard says. ‘We’ve had an introductory meeting to educate residents on what a CID entails, but no decision or direction has been taken yet.’

‘Becoming a CID would be very positive and is probably inevitable,’ comments Chris Willemse.

Read the article online ‹‹ here ››

NEWS Mar 09: Oudekraal

New and as yet undetermined development possibilities are in the air for Oudekraal - probably the most valuable and hotly contested undeveloped land on the Peninsula.

Key authorities and environmental and ratepayers' groups have been invited to a private meeting next month as part of a new process to explore development opportunities for this privately-owned property that stretches along the slopes of the Twelve Apostles between Camps Bay and Llandudno.

This is despite the continuing legal battle over earlier development rights there that started in 2002.

This long-running case will culminate in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, possibly later this year, when property owner Oudekraal Estates (Pty) Ltd - represented by wealthy businessman Kasper Wiehahn who is the principal director - seeks to overturn a Cape High Court ruling that development rights dating from 1957 are invalid.

Lawyers also say that because constitutional issues have been raised in these proceedings, it's possible that this case will still go all the way to the Constitutional Court.

But in the meantime, another development company, Property Promotions and Management (Pty) Ltd, has struck a deal with Wiehahn to look at development options for Oudekraal which consists of five separate erven: Portions 4, 5, 6 and 7 and the Remainder of Portion 902 of the Farm Oudekraal.

The property is zoned agricultural, and in terms of this current zoning a substantial house and appropriate outbuildings could possibly be allowed on each of the five portions.

The director of this second company is Bishop's Court businessmen Ivor Stratford, a former chairman of the Pinnacle Point luxury beach, golf and country estate development at Mossel Bay, although Pinnacle Point is not involved here in any way.

Stratford has in turn appointed a local environmental consultancy, Doug Jeffery Environmental Consultants, to start an "information-gathering" initiative for the "possible development" of some part of Oudekraal.

The consultancy has invited various "key stakeholders" to a meeting to discuss the issue. Originally scheduled for last Thursday but then cancelled, the meeting has now been rescheduled for June 4 at Century City.

Those invited include the three authorities that took on Wiehahn and won the Cape High Court ruling over the 1957 development rights that is now on appeal - the City of Cape Town, SA National Parks and SA Heritage Resources Agency - and some ratepayers' groups and environmental organisations like Wessa and the Botanical Society of SA.

Stratford yesterday confirmed a possible deal with Wiehahn.

"I was approached to look at it and yes, we have looked at a deal with Mr Wiehahn. But obviously we want to look at it first from its environmental sensitivity."

He confirmed that he had appointed the environmental consultants who were in turn commissioning specialist studies.

"I'm going to make no decisions until they report back to me as a professional team," he said.

Jeffery told the Cape Argus that a media statement was planned for after the June 4 meeting, and that the public had not been invited for logistical reasons.

"I understand fully the sensitivities of this site. It is our intention to do a huge amount of work upfront, before any application, to understand if anything can even be done on this site. I might just walk away - it depends on what comes out."

The June 4 meeting was not an attempt to go outside the law relating to public participation in EIAs, he said.

"I felt we needed to tell the stakeholders because rumours spread and misinformation gets out.

"We're not trying to scare the hell out of people, we don't want them jumping up and down." Wiehahn had nothing to do with this initiative, Jeffery added.

Asked to comment, Wiehahn referred the Cape Argus to his attorney, Milton Koumbatis, who said he had not been briefed about the June 4 meeting.

Jeffery's initial invitation to the meeting stated:

"A substantial period of time has passed since the previous development of the Oudekraal site was in the public eye. Numerous events have occurred in the interim, the most notable being an agreement that introduces a new applicant for possible development.

"The complex and sensitive nature of Portions 4, 5, 6 and 7 and Remainder of Portion 902 of the Farm Oudekraal and the associated history demands a cautious approach in terms of any potential development of the site.

"Please be advised, this is not a public process as it falls outside the formal EIA process. As such, your personal attendance and respect for confidentiality at this stage would be greatly appreciated."

John Yeld

Find the article at The Argus online here:

MINUTES Feb 09: Public Meeting

Minutes of a CBRRA Public Meeting held on 23 February 2009 at Rotunda Ballroom, Camps Bay

Present: Trudi Groenewald – chair
John Powell
Michael Williams – minutes
45 supporters and members of the public

Apologies Cllr J – P Smith Inspector Hudson SAPS station commissioner


CBRRA secretary: Anne Caras has retired and a replacement is badly needed. The chairperson called for volunteers.

CBRRA Harrison court case: The Harrison case (cnr Geneva and Blinkwater) CBRRA appeal is proceeding. We do not know whether the City Council is involved or not.

Rates Revaluation: Council is proposing to revalue all properties on 1 July 2009 and to implement rateable values on this base from 1 July 2010.


Planning meetings are “open” and anyone is welcome. The following are identified as key issues:
  • 6 Lincoln Road - two or three stories double dwelling ·
  • 17 Ottawa Avenue - garage underneath
  • 24 Geneva Drive - one of three CBRRA court cases - a six level apartment block ·
  • 2 Woodford Avenue - Crystal five level apartment block ·
  • 17 Geneva Drive - three flats ·
  • 2 Woodhead Close - five stories in a three story area, due to go to the High Court on 24 February 2009 ·
  • House Bailes in Kloof Rd, Clifton - pool is illegal
CBRRA has had a meeting with Pieter van Zyl, the Council’s Executive Director of Planning in November 2008. Noted that the Council seems to be defensive and that some of their interpretations of the regulations are very difficult to understand. They are very short of staff though training of new staff has begun.


Police station is being upgraded.

Crime reports January -
  • Theft from car – Clifton
  • Muggings – Bakoven and Clifton
  • Housebreaking – two active groups in Bakoven and Glen Housebreaking
  • Gang - Still in jail. Objections to bail from CBW TV
  • Camera project - R650,000 raised as a loan. Final decision in 2 weeks

Vagrants - Usual increase in numbers in December to February with the accompanying increase in crime

CB Security Initiative - Closer working between SAPS, ADT, Baywatch and CBW being implemented. Details to follow.

Camps Bay Watch - Now up to 603 members of whom 115 are active. Ian Merrington is now the chairman.

  • Clive Davies - SAPS radios handheld only during the station refurbishment. SAPS have replaced officers cars with vans
  • Brenda Gibbs - Request for more lighting on the sportsfield.
  • Roundhouse – off license application has been opposed.
  • Kevin Tucker - Trees in the Glen have been cut down – who permitted it? Pedestrian traffic through the Glen increasing.
  • Tony Hare - Film crews in Bakoven are becoming a nuisance. Closer supervision of them is required.

Chairman thanked the Bay Hotel for the use of the Rotunda and the refreshments provided.

The meeting ended at 21h40.

ARGUS Nov 06: Camps Bay Cleans Up After Council

Rubbish that filled three trucks, totalling 16 tonnes, was cleared out of Camps Bay by local organisations on Monday, 4 December. The Camps Bay Community Police Forum, which organised the clean-up, says that most of the rubbish was collected on council property.

"The question it raises is why these areas are not being cleaned regularly - is it merely out of sight, out of mind, or is it just that services are slipping in general?" asks Bernard Schäfer, chairperson of the Camps Bay CPF.

The operation also saw 12 vagrants being moved to various shelters. These 12 were vagrants who agreed to being relocated, while a number refused to leave.

In addition to the CPF, organisations involved in the operation were Bay Response, ADT, the SA Police Service, Law Enforcement, Metro Police, City of Cape Town Solid Waste Department, as well as the Cape Town Central City Improvement District. Three trucks - a 10 tonne, five tonne and a one tonner - were filled with rubbish.

Almost two-thirds of the Camps Bay precinct was covered, from the Camps Bay Police Station to Clifton Third Beach, as well as the area around Kloof Street, Camps Bay High, Central Drive and the preparatory school and crèche.

"The operation was organised in an attempt to kick-start the Camps Bay SAPS, other law enforcement bodies and the council into regularly undertaking exercises of this nature.

"It is necessary to properly cleanse what is fast becoming a dirty embarrassment to one of the best tourist attractions in the world," Schäfer says.

Derek Bock, chief operations officer of the Cape Town Central CID, says they were happy to help out as it shows the value of a CID.

"We will support anyone, from Camps Bay to Woodstock, who is battling with crime-related issues because we are closely affiliated with the Cape Town CPF, so we understand the situation."

Atlantic Seaboard Councillor JP Smith concedes that council's cleansing resources have not been sufficient, with an "inadequate" budget this year.

However, he hopes that next year?s budget will be more promising.

Smith says, though, that the beach is cleaned mechanically quite frequently during the peak season, and areas surrounding the beach are cleaned as complaints are received.

"The problem is that, after such a clean-up, only days later it looks the way it used to and people then assume the job is not being done," he says.

Smith says that since Camps Bay does not have a city improvement district of its own, criminals and vagrants come from other areas to make themselves at home locally.

There is no regular, proactive action to prevent this. Schäfer says that vagrants and even workers on building sites are regularly using bushes near the beach for their ablutions. Certain building sites do not provide their workers with the necessary ablution facilities.

"No wonder Bakoven, Camps Bay and Clifton beaches made headline news recently because of unacceptable e-coli levels being recorded consistently during routine council water testing."

The City of Cape Town stated in November that it would be erecting signs at local beaches to warn water-users of the abnormally high e-coli levels in the water.

Schäfer fears that the erection of such signs could cost beaches such as Clifton Fourth their Blue Flag status.

Abdulla Parker, head of the city catchment planning department with jurisdiction over the Atlantic Seaboard, says that 15 signs will be erected in the area by the end of the week.

Chris Willemse, chairperson of the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association, says residents of Camps Bay should be thankful to the CPF, as the clean-up project they held was "an incredibly worthwhile" operation.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Estate Agents’ illegal signs

In its efforts to prevent Camps Bay and environs from the unacceptable disfigurement by Estate Agents’ advertising boards, CBRRA has, in the past, approached Estate Agents to request the removal of their illegal advertising sign boards – with a remarkable lack of success!

The Council has published draft new municipal signage regulations which, predictably, has caused consternation amongst Estate Agents.

The dilemma here is that, in the past, the majority of Estate Agents have ignored the previous regulations and when approached by CBRRA, made the almost universal response, “Well, if everyone else is doing it I will continue doing it and I will only conform to the regulations once all the other Agents have done so”.

This demonstrates an irresponsible, selfish and anti-social attitude on the part of such Agents. What this means is that Agents will gladly transgress the municipal regulations to further their businesses with no consideration at all for the community at large.

The most notable transgressions are:

More than one signboard per property – signs on Council land (pavements) – signs on a scenic drive (eg Camps Bay Drive) – “SOLD” signs which remain in position longer than the Municipal legal requirement of a maximum of TWO WEEKS after the date of a sale.

Agents should be reminded that they cannot legally make a contract with a seller which is in conflict with the law (ie defining the permissible length of time allowed for a “SOLD” sign longer than two weeks).

What can YOU do about this?

1. Do not sign a mandate /deed of sale with an Agent permitting the “SOLD “ sign on your property to remain longer than two weeks after the date of the deed of sale.

2. Report the following illegal “FOR SALE” or “SOLD” signs:
  • Signs exceeding 0,3sqm (600 X 550 mm) in area
  • More than one sign per property
  • Self supporting signs on Council property (especially pavements)
  • “SOLD” signs up longer than two weeks after date of sale
  • Signs on scenic drives (eg Camps Bay Drive)
You get the neighbourhood you deserve. So if you want to help keep our suburbs as sign-free and as tidy as possible, telephone the Council to report all signage Agents’ transgressions on tel 021 400 5341 or fax 021 425 4448. The Council will remove the illegal signs at the Agent’s cost and fine it.

Building operations

CBBRA regularly gets calls from residents complaining about the behaviour of property owners and their building contractors who seem to totally ignore the inconveniences they cause to adjacent neighbours by working well into the night, littering pavements with rubbish and executing very intrusive excavating operations, including blasting, causing wall cracks, building without passed plans or not in accordance with passed plans, etc.

CBRRA often gets complaints about all the above with the request that CBRRA do something about them – immediately. Bearing in mind that these problems are endemic and widespread, CBRRA cannot be expected to act as the trouble shooter for all of them. It just doesn’t have the manpower and, in any event, should not be doing this kind of thing in the first instance..

The correct procedure is for residents to first contact the relevant department at the Council to try and obtain help and satisfaction. Only if this is not readily forthcoming, should they then contact CBRRA which can then strengthen their representations to Council officials with a follow up.

Generally you will get most of these problems sorted out by Roads and Drainage, Cleansing and the Building Inspector (before 10-00 am) at 021 4001111 (the Council’s central swithboard).

It is worth noting that a blasting permit is required before any such operation can commence. Similarly a permit is also needed before demolitions can commence. This also ensures that buildings older than sixty years of architectural, historic or aesthetic merit are not pulled down, thus depriving the area of its built environment heritage.

Guest Accommodation

Great uncertainty is generated on the part of residents on occasions by guest accommodation in this area. It is important that property owners who intend creating guest accommodation conform to the legal requirements for same as published by the Cape Town City Council. It has a brochure clearly defining the procedures for guest accommodation and it is essential, no, a legal requirement, that property owners legally conform to these regulations - otherwise their business can be closed down. Extracts from this brochure are as follows:

“There are three types of accommodation, each of which involves a degree of consultation with CBRRA, the surrounding residents and the local community. The canvassing (or advertising) is done by the Council once your application is lodged.

1) Family guests - informal lodger accommodation in a family home.

Any family can have not exceeding five paying guests LODGING WITH THEM without special permission. This method does not entitle the resident family to display any signage or to have employees in connection with the activity.

2) “Bed and Breakfast” (B & B) - the home industry option.

If a family, LIVING ON A PROPERTY, intends having five to ten (maximum) paying guests at any one time, it requires a business licence in terms of the Business Licence Act for the sale and supply of food and drinks to guests. If the family wants to put up a B & B sign, or wants to employ staff in connection with the business, then the permanent resident can apply to run a B & B from home as a “home industry”.

The number of rooms and guests allowed depends on the size of the property. While there is no particular parking requirement, Council does consider the site’s location, public transport and the market niche aimed at (eg. backpackers). Lack of on-site parking is a common reason for Council rejecting an application.

If you have to alter or rebuild your house, plans for these alteration or rebuilding must first be submitted and approved before your application for a B & B can be dealt with. The proposed alterations must always be considered to be part of the extension to a normal dwelling house. The proposed alterations must not change the dwelling to such an extent that it is no longer considered to be a single dwelling unit ie. one front entrance and one kitchen with all rooms connected with interleading passages.

If the proposed accommodation facility does not fall into either of the two options described above, then it is necessary that the property has, or acquires, the appropriate land use zoning permission to fall into the following category :

3) Hotel / guest house - full range of accommodation (exceeding ten guests).

Permanent rights for a hotel / guest house require that the property has a General Residential Use Zoning. However, even in a General Residential Use Zone, if you intend converting or rebuilding an existing dwelling house into an hotel, a building plan must be submitted for approval showing the conversion or rebuilding of a dwelling house into an hotel. This is necessary in order that regulations such as three on site parking bays for every five bedrooms are met. This is also needed to ensure that no building departures are required as “residential buildings” have different requirements in terms of setbacks than dwelling houses. The size of the facility is limited by the size of the site and the on-site parking you can provide. Departures from coverage and setback regulations are often required. These need the approval of the surrounding community”.

An owner DOES NOT NEED TO LIVE IN a hotel.

If your property is not zoned for General Residential Use, then a rezoning application, also needing the approval of the surrounding community, is required.

Applications must be properly motivated relative to the potential impact of them on the immediate neighbours and the surrounding neighbourhood, with reference made to the impact on streetscapes, traffic and parking, aesthetics, neighbour privacy, noise, derogation of value of surrounding properties, etc.

Before submitting applications to the Council, property owners are well advised to first test the reaction of adjacent neighbours and CBRRA.

Buying or building a house


What should you be doing if you have decided to buy a house in Camps Bay and environs as an existing resident or a prospective property owner ? The following is a sensible modus operandi for someone who wants to buy, alter or build a home in this best of all possible places:

Here are some handy tips for the unwary. “Caveat emptor” (Buyer beware”) is really what this is all about.

1) Decide how much you can afford and get your finances in order.

2) Are you paying cash or getting a bond?

3) Can you afford the repayments plus interest?

4) Are you buying to live in or develop and sell the property?

5) Decide what area you are looking to live or redevelop in.

6) Get some Estate Agents to show you some properties and, very importantly, the terms of their prospective Deed of Sale – especially the transfer date.

7) Get the services of a Conveyancing Lawyer, an Architect, a Planner, a Structural Engineer and a Quantity Surveyor to help you decide upon your options – especially if you want to alter or rebuild.

8) Obtain a copy of the current Title Deeds – get your professional team to scrutinize and advise you on all the ramifications thereof.

9) Get to understand the City Council Zoning scheme restrictions applicable to your prospective purchase – same as last. Title Deeds and Zoning Schemes often contradict each other!

10) Find out from the Seller / Agent whether the house as it presently stands reflects the passed plans in the possession of the Council. You may be buying illegally built work which will be picked up by the council should you want to alter the building.

11) Get advice on the state of the electrical and mechanical installations and hopefully the state of the existing timbers (especially in the roof). Get a beetle-free certificate.

12) Compare the last two to ascertain whether you are inheriting illegal work not previously passed by the Council for which you will become responsible once you have completed your purchase as you will certainly be purchasing the property “voetstoots” (“as is”).

13) Look at the properties immediately surrounding your possible purchase. Is there a possibility that any of the adjacent properties could be altered / rebuilt to alter / obscure that lovely view for which you are prepared to pay a fortune? If there is, what are your rights?

14) Is there, as in Fulham Road, the possibility of a major dual carriageway freeway passing right in front of your property in due course?!

15) What are the legal / time ramifications if you want to run a business (guesthouse, hairdresser etc.) from your property – or subdivide, build a granny-flat or double / second dwelling etc. etc.?
You need professional advice here and be prepared to pay some up-front money to assist you in your decision-making process. Money thus spent may save you plenty later on if you have rushed in without fully acquainting yourself with all the issues, costs and time involved.

16) What is the rates valuation status of the property? – this is very relevant at the present time. For example: The present Owner received a revaluation from the Council in February 2007 for R6 000 000 and has objected to this and has asked for it to be reduced to R4 000 000. His objection may not yet have been adjudicated. So, even although you managed to buy the property for R4 200 000, you will still pay the 8% transfer duty on the Council revaluation of R6 000 000 and not on the sales price – ie. R480 000 in lieu of R336 000! This will apply unless the Council has agreed to reduce the new valuation down to the R4 000 000 the present owner has asked for. Should the objection situation have been resolved before your transfer, you will only pay rates on the R4 200 000 sales price. Just to remind you, your annual rates bill on R4 200 000 property will be R 4 200 000 minus R88 000 equals R4 112 000 X R0,00459 in the Rand = R18 874 per annum = R1573 per month plus sewage, garbage removal, water and electricity.

17) Lastly, find out whether you are going to be sheltered from the wind or are you going to always be walking at 80 degrees?!

Still want to buy ? Enjoy !



Building a home for yourself is a long and complicated journey, with many stages, each of which follow logically on one another and some of which overlap. In simple terms, this is what you, the client in a building contract need to do or organize:

1. Appoint an Estate Agent and professional consultants (Architect, Engineer, Land Surveyor, Quantity Surveyor).

2. In conjunction with the above persons, appraise and define the project (eg. the site and planning and statutory regulations pertaining to it).

3. Prepare a preliminary target budget and consider all the economic and financial issues pertaining to your intentions (including furnishing!).

4. Prepare a holistic programme of every process - not only the construction process.

5. Assess your ability to finance the project and, if necessary, talk to your financial adviser and bank manager.

6. Investigate the locality and availability of prospective properties, which conform to your aspirations. Check the Title Deed restrictions and Town Planning Zoning Scheme regulations applicable to the property or properties under consideration and be on the lookout for Council Servitudes.

7. Prepare a rough preliminary design (or designs) to decide which design/property is suitable for you.

8. Check the Title Deed restrictions and Town Planning Scheme regulations related to your preliminary design/s. Obtain advice from a Conveyancing Lawyer and a Town Planner that there are no title deed restrictions or townplanning zoning scheme regulations which will prevent you doing what you wish to do on the property.

9. Purchase the land (or, as some people are now doing, buy the property and demolish the house – another, very expensive way of acquiring the plot of your dreams!).

10. Prepare a more developed and realistic design concept in preliminary sketch plan form. Check the budget and programme for this developed preliminary design concept against your original target budget and programme and change any or all components of either of these accordingly. At this stage you have already committed yourself to a portion of your consultants’ fees. However this is probably not more than about 25% of your final overall fee.

11. You must now commit yourself to instructing your design and cost consultants to develop the previous conceptual sketch plans into preliminary working drawings for the purpose of reviewing the design with the relevant authorities.

12. Submit preliminary working drawings to the authorities for their preliminary plan scrutiny and approval.

13. Proceed through the process of obtaining community and authority permission for Title Deed amendments and / or Town Planning Zoning Scheme departures should these be necessary. (These can be very time-consuming).

14. Prepare final construction working drawings for tender purposes.

15. Submit developed working drawings to the authorities for scrutiny and approval.

16. Recheck your original budget against the tender documentation and amend either as and if necessary.

17. Call for tenders or negotiate with one Contractor - or decide to go owner building (if you can spare the time) - not always your cheapest option!

18. Obtain all approved plans from the authorities.

19. Assess tenders received or negotiations finalised against the current budget, adjust either as and if necessary. Accept one tender and sign a contract agreement with a contractor or commence with your own owner building process. If you sign a contract agreement with a contractor, you will need to finalise various issues, such as the construction period, penalty for late completion, construction guarantee or retention fund, waiver of builder’s lien or client’s payment guarantee, signing powers, insurances and payments, for work done and work still to be done (such as when subcontractors request large up-front deposits on order, a practice much to be discouraged!).

20. Register the project with the NHBRC (The National Home Builders Registration Council) and in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as the ultimate responsibilty for the safety of all persons on your construction site is now yours, not the contractor’s.

21. Notify the authorities, the NHBRC and the Occupational Health and Safety Department and commence construction on site in accordance with a construction programme prepared by the contractor and presented by him at the first site meeting. At this stage, before commencement of construction, you will now have been obliged to pay in the vicinity of about 75% of your consultants’ overall fees.

22. Finalise all documentation and decisions which have to be made on all contracts/subcontracts, the design and costs for which were not finalised at the time that tenders were called for and therefore were included in the accepted tender by means of Prime Cost Items and Provisional Sums. This process must be done strictly in accordance with the contractor’s construction programme. Failure to keep to this programme will entitle the contractor to claim an extension of his construction period with increased costs for this extension of time having to be paid for by you.

23. Instruct any alterations to the design brief in consultation with the design and cost consultants.

24. Check interim cost reports against the latest budget and either alter the budget and financing to cater for reported cost overruns or alter the design / specifications of work still to be constructed to offset the reported additional costs. Alternatively, should the reports reflect anticipated savings on the previous budget, decide whether you wish to pocket these savings or add to the extent or specifications of uncompleted work. All the instructions emanating from these decisions must be issued timeously to avoid extension of construction period claims from the contractor.

25. Pay the contractor/s and professional consultants timeously within the contracted time periods on an interim basis.

26. Conclude the construction process by:
26.1 Properly insuring the new about-to-be-occupied building, works on site and contents.
26.2 Taking beneficial occupation.
26.3 Pointing out patent defects that you have noticed once you have taken beneficial occupation.
26.4 Receiving and commenting on the design and cost consultants’ final reports and final account.
26.5. Receiving and responding to the design and cost consultants’ reports and recommendations on any disputes which may have arisen in terms of the contract agreement - intermediately and at the end of the construction period.
26.6 Finally accepting that all defects which have been pointed out by you have been made good by the contractor/s.
26.7 Making final payments to the contractor/s and all consultants.
26.8 Receiving “as-built” drawings, guarantees, operating instructions manuals.

What the above is demonstrating is that there is a huge amount of work to be done by a lot of people, especially by you, the client, before, during and after the construction period. This whole process can take a considerable time, regardless of the size of the building. It depends on a vast amount of circumstances and challenges, all of which must be considered and solved on a continuous basis in order that your costs do not run entirely out of control and you achieve what you originally wanted. When it comes to the overall budgeting, procurement, contract agreement, construction and financial control processes, it is vital that you employ a Quantity Surveyor in some form or other (whether for full or partial services) - at least simultaneously with your Architect - as he/she will have a major influence in enabling you to be aware, at all times, whether you are able to afford what you have had designed for you on the property which you have purchased.

Building your own home will probably be the biggest investment you will make in your whole life. You cannot afford to take short cuts and make expensive mistakes. Employ the right professional consultants and reputable contractor /s with proven track records at fair prices and enjoy the ride!

Camps Bay’s changing face

Camps Bay and environs, in their modern form, really started in the first quarter of the last century. However, it was only in about the beginning of the ‘80’s that the world started to realise that Camps Bay was more than a windy backwater with ice cold sea water which one hurried through to somewhere else. In the beginning, Camps Bay was mainly single-storied and the occasional double-storey with one house per erf. As the area developed and the hunt for seaside properties accelerated, the land value increased exponentially and the older houses became a luxury for such valuable real estate.

This is why you will see all round you, now that nearly all the vacant sites have been sold, demolitions of houses to make way for bigger single dwellings or double dwellings, usually three storeys high and sometimes with more floor levels (as basements and mezzanine floors are not defined as storeys in the Council’s zoning Scheme).

Whereas Camps Bay has doubled in population since say the 1960’s, it will double again in the next twenty years or so due to the frenzied pace of the current construction work which will last for a considerable time into the future. The houses of the future here will most certainly be at least three-storied, as a height of 10 metres is currently permitted from (finished) ground level to eaves plus a pitched roof if desired.

So the landscape and the built environment around you is going to alter considerably in the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

REPORT: FAQ on Special Rating Areas

(including City Improvement Districts)

What is an SRA?

A Special Rating Area (SRA) refers to a clearly defined geographical area, approved by the City of Cape Town, in which property owners can raise levies to fund ‘top up’ services for that specific area.

What is the regulatory framework governing SRAs?

SRAs are governed by Section 22 of the Municipal Property Rates Act (MPRA), the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), Section 21 of the Companies Act, the SA Constitution, and the Cape Town’s City Improvement District By-law of 2004.

Why establish an SRA?

According to the SA Constitution (Sections 152 & 153), the objective of a local authority is to provide all its residents with certain basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal, etc – up to an equitable standard. For communities who wish to enjoy municipal services of a higher level, an SRA provides them with the option of paying for these additional services, which should be affordable and sustainable.

What types of ‘top-up’ services are provided in a SRA?

Typically, these would be services dealing with issues of ‘crime and grime’ such as additional public safety measures, cleansing services, maintenance of infrastructure, upgrading of the environment, and social services to deal with vagrancy, etc.

What are the benefits for SRA members?

By pooling their resources in an SRA, individual property owners can enjoy the collective benefits of a well managed area, a shared sense of communal pride, safety and social responsibility, and access to joint initiatives such as waste recycling, energy-efficiency programmes, etc. In the end, these all translate into a tangible boost in property values and capital investments.

Are there different types of SRAs?

No, but an SRA can consist of industrial, commercial and residential components, or a combination of all three.

How many SRAs are there in Cape Town?

There are currently 16 SRAs in the City of Cape Town. Four communities have applied for establishment, and another 25 have expressed interest in establishing an SRA.

How does one establish an SRA?

An SRA is always initiated by a community, and not by the City.

It usually starts with ‘champions’ within a community who feel the necessity to upgrade the environment within the boundaries of a certain area. They then compile a business plan indicating how the improvements are to be achieved, and present this to the community at a public meeting. Thereafter property owners are lobbied for their support. A majority of more than 50% has to give written consent to the formation of an SRA.

Once this has been obtained, the steering group has to submit the business plan, motivation report and implementation plan, as an application to the City. The proposal is then advertised in the media to allow affected parties at least 30 days to render any comments or objections. The City then considers the application and the objections.

After the City has approved the application, a board is elected and a Section 21 company is set up with VAT registration, a bank account, Tradeworld accreditation, etc. This must all be in place before the City bills the property owners and pays over the levies to the SRA.

Who manages the SRA?

An SRA is a Section 21 company managed by a board elected by its members, and operated by a management team appointed by the board. The City is not involved in their day-to-day operations, but merely exercises financial oversight and legal compliance.

Who monitors the finances?

An SRA manages its own finances and appoints its own auditors. The audited financial statements form part of the City’s consolidated accounts, which are reviewed by the Auditor-General. In addition, monthly financial reports are submitted to the City to monitor that expenditure is incurred according to the business plan.

How is an SRA funded?

An SRA is funded entirely from the levies paid by its members. It does not receive any subsidies from the City, but does have the powers to raise additional loans and sponsorships.

How is the SRA levy calculated?

The SRA management confirms the details of the database of property owners within the boundaries of the SRA, which is then linked by the City to the municipal valuations according to the most recent general valuation roll.

The SRA management prepares an overall budget for the year based on the specific needs of the area. The individual levies are then calculated by dividing up the budget total according to the municipal valuations of each SRA member proportional to the total valuation of the SRA.

The budget formula allows for a differentiation in levies for the different types of properties – be it residential, commercial or industrial.

This levy is then expressed as a cent in the rand and is applicable over a financial year, which starts on 1 July.

The SRA budget and proposed levy have to be approved by the City, and advertised for comments and objections prior to implementation on 1 July.

How is the SRA levy collected?

The City collects the levy on behalf of the SRA. The levy income goes to the SRA for the services it provides. It does not go to the City, although they share an invoice to save on collection costs. The levy appears as a separate item on the monthly municipal account of each SRA member. Each month, the City pays over a twelfth of the SRA budget after retaining 3% of the budget as a provision for bad debts.

Is the SRA levy mandatory for all properties within the SRA?

Yes. Once the City has approved an SRA, the participation of all property owners within the boundaries of the SRA is mandatory.

How does the SRA budget work?

The SRA sets its own 3 year budget according to input from its members. The City does not get involved in this process. Each year, the SRA board has to submit a detailed budget to the City by 31 January. The proposed budget may not deviate materially from the approved business plan and three-year budget. If there is a material deviation, an application in terms of Section 11 of the SRA By-Law is required.

What if the valuation base changes within a financial year?

The valuation base is a snapshot at a point in time (end February) and is used to calculate the cent-in-the-rand for the following financial year. However, municipal valuations can change within a financial year due to interim valuations, Valuation Court rulings, sub-divisions, rezoning or other technical adjustments. Should the valuation base decrease or increase substantially, the City must inform the SRA in order to recalculate the levy.

Can my SRA levy be spent anywhere in the City?

No, levy income is ring-fenced to be ploughed back exclusively into the SRA.

How does the City resolve levy arrears?

The City provides the SRA board with a regular update of levy payments so that the board can assist in pursuing those who are in arrears. Defaulters are subject to the City’s credit control and debt collection policies. As such, they can have their water and electricity services suspended or their rates clearance certificates withheld.

Does the formation of an SRA mean that the City can reduce the level and quality of its services?

No. The City is obligated to sustain existing service levels. It has to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with each SRA indicating the level of services to be provided by the municipality. This enables the SRA to decide on the ‘top up’ services required.

Do members have a say in an SRA?

Absolutely! Every property owner should register for membership of the Section 21 company once it has been established, attend annual general meetings, get involved in the election of board members and provide input in the SRA budget.

What is the relationship between the City, SRA and members

City of Cape Town

· Approval *Billing
· Finance *Receipting
· SLA/Memorandum of understanding
· Compliance


· Mandate
· Section 21 Company


Media enquiries:

* Eddie Scott, Manager: Inter-Services Liaison, Directorate of Finance, City of Cape Town, Tel: (021) 400 1872

*Joepie Joubert, Inter-Services Liaison, City of Cape Town,
Tel: (021) 400 5138

*Runan Rossouw, Economic & Human Development Directorate, City of Cape Town, Tel: (021) 400 5148