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Friday, 30 August 2013

Green Point's big Award Night-Sat 24 August 2013 Rand National Awards Club ILASA Awards



From: Chris Willemse
Date: 30 August 2013 8:55:47 AM SAST
To: "Johan van Papendorp"
Cc: CBBRA Manco
Subject: Re: Pete FW: Green Point's big Award Night-Sat 24 August 2013 Rand National Awards Club ILASA Awards

Hi Johan

What an amazing achievement - and so richly deserved.
My personal congratulations and from all at CBRRA.

Alma, please place this wonderful news on the blog.

Cheers

Chris

cnwillemse@gmail.com
0836536363


Dear Friends,
This is a once in a lifetime  thing  and I would like to share the news with those that I spend meaningful times with.
Warm regards on a cold morning,
Johan

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE:




Monday, 26 August 2013

Letter to Atlantic Sun: The Atlantic Sun article “Progress on School expansion” dated 22 August refers.


Chris Willemse, Chair, Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA)

The Atlantic Sun article “Progress on School expansion” dated 22 August refers.

For a considerable time now, the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) has been attempting to assist the Camps Bay Preparatory School (CBPPS) and the Camps Bay Bowling Club (CBBC) to arrive at a workable compromise in respect of the mutually beneficial use of the City land which is leased from the City by the CBBC. While it is common cause, at first glance, that the CBPPS is turning away many applicants due to “lack of space” and the CBBC is perceived to be unsustainable and is allegedly underutilizing its leased property area, the circumstances surrounding the above conclusions need to be carefully examined in respect of their accuracy.

The following is common cause:

1.  The CBBC has been in existence in Camps Bay since 1920 and serves the Community by offering a viable bowling club for its members and, at the same time, permitting its premises to be used by a host of community-orientated activities, such as karate, Pilates, ballroom dancing, line dancing, bridge club and various community activities such as a regular supper club, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations, committee and political meetings etc.
Since the demise of the Civic Centre, this has been the only viable place of assembly available to the public at large.

2.  As recently as March 2013, the City acknowledged the feasibility of the CBBC as a bowling club and in addition as a multi-usage venue for the above community-based activities as well as a meeting place for public meetings. It is wrong that the CBBC should read of this major change of plan by the City through the press, as it smacks of political interference.

3.  Over the period of its existing lease, the bowling club has, at its own cost, erected a considerable amount of improvements on the property, running into millions of rands, for which, if its lease is going to be peremptorily cancelled, it must be compensated in full on a Quantity Surveyor’s current estimate of cost by the new owner of the property.

4.  The presence of the bowling club in Camps Bay for many years has been a feature of the central village area and of significant historical and architectural value, which cannot be swept aside by a simple bureaucratic action without any public participation by the relevant authorities whatsoever, and without reference to the Heritage Western Cape Committee and a thorough EIA process. The clubhouse is the only place in Camps Bay, which has a record of many generations of residents over an extended period, and, as such, has a considerable historic value.

5.   The way Mayco Member (and deputy Mayor) Ald. Ian Nelson is being quoted, the impression is given that the decision by the City to accept the Provincial Government’s request for the land has been decided in the affirmative and that the only real issue now at stake is to agree a market-related value.
This is a cause for great concern by the CBRRA. It would appear as if City-owned land is simply being expropriated without any due process and, more importantly, without public participation. This land is zoned, in the main, as public open space, which is a scarce resource given the developmental pressure on land in the City.

6. Clearly, even with the City’s apparent lack of concern for any form of public participation and possibly coming to an agreement with the Province behind closed doors, there is a long process of re-zoning and consideration of the title deed restrictions that govern the 6 separate erven that make up this site.
In fact, the City’s Director of Planning, Cheryl Walters, warns: ”In statutory terms a re-zoning could take between four and seven months from the date of submission of a completed application.  This would exclude any potential rights of appeal”.
This could possibly extend the rezoning procedure to a few years.
The possibility of the City unilaterally terminating its valid lease with the CBBC, completing the re-zonings and other statutory processes and the CBPS moving onto the premises by the beginning of 2014 is remote, to say the least.

The CBPPS’s need for additional expansion requirements is common cause.
The historical reasons for the present situation result from the ongoing increase in the Camps Bay population, which, after all, should be the primary reason for the school’s existence.
Without debating the merits or otherwise of admitting pupils from far or adjoining suburbs in preference to Camps Bay pupils; the size of the school must always be able to cope with this core pupil population.

With the above in mind, CBBRA is convinced that this very valuable property is far too important for restricted use and must be utilized by as much as is possible of the whole population of Camps Bay.

CBRRA’s architects have produced sketch plans that clearly indicate that a shared option could work and that the time-line to assist the CBPPS with additional space could be dramatically reduced by following this route. The current large parking area could easily be reduced, thereby making an area available for a playground and/or a few classrooms. The proposal that 6000m2 be used for “sport and a playground” is clearly unsustainable and wasteful in the extreme.

CBRRA will continue to contribute positively to this sensitive matter in whatever manner possible, in order that the entire population of Camps Bay can benefit equally from the most effective broad use of what is undoubtedly, with the soccer field, the most valuable piece of real estate in the village.

Letter to the Premier, Helen Zille: Alienation of City owned land for Educational purposes


26 August 2013
Ms Helen Zille
Premier of the Western Cape
Provincial Buildings
Wale Street
Cape Town
8001

Dear Premier Zille

ALIENATION OF CITY OWNED LAND FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES, CAMPS BAY

For a considerable time now, The Camps Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) has been attempting to assist the Camps Bay Preparatory School (CBPS) and the Camps Bay Bowling Club (CBBC) to arrive at a workable compromise in respect of the mutually beneficial use of the City land which is leased from the City by the CBBC. While it is common cause, at first glance, that the CBPS is turning away many applicants due to “lack of space” and the CBBC is perceived to be unsustainable and allegedly underutilizing its leased property area, the circumstances surrounding the above conclusions need to be carefully examined in respect of their accuracy.

It is with growing alarm that the CBRRA reads and hears that your office is allegedly in support of the City of Cape Town, through representations by the Education Ministry and WC Education Department (WCED), unilaterally cancelling the CBBC lease with the intention of alienating this large portion of land in central Camps Bay for future educational purposes, viz for the specific and sole use by the CBPS.  (See attached document).
Of further concern is that as recently as October 2012, the (then) Mayco member for Community Services, Tandeka Gqada, had publicly announced that the CBBC is a sustainable sporting club and that the City would not interfere with a valid, legal lease agreement. Again, in March 2013, the City confirmed the validity of the CBBC’s lease.

In terms of background to this matter, please note the following:
The CBRRA accepts that both the CBBC and the CBPS have needs that can be better served by a rationalization of the usage of the property concerned, with the intention of finding a shared option. The CBPS is in need of a certain amount of land for expansion and the CBBC could well reconfigure its needs to accommodate the CBPS. To this end, many meetings, discussions and planning sessions were held last year. These interactions progressed to the “buy-in” by the DA councillor for the Ward and the DA MPL for the area and to an advanced sketch plan stage. Sadly, a small grouping of concerned parents (CPG), purporting to represent the school, did an about-turn and have publically vowed to annex the entire property with the concomitant demise of an active and sustainable sports club. Not only is the CBRRA, in representing the community, totally opposed to this stratagem, but also the CBBC is quite rightly reluctant to enter into any further negotiations in the face of this attitude.

The CBRRA is still firmly in favour of a shared solution and will, with the encouragement of the City and Provincial Governments, continue to use its position as the only community based organization in the suburb to achieve what is considered amongst the majority of ratepayers as a “win-win” situation. Through sharing, a synergy between (relatively) senior and younger members of the community is envisaged. This has to be first prize.

We believe that it will set a dangerous precedent in land matters if such unilateral actions are accommodated without any reference to the opinions and needs of the community and indeed, a proper public participation process. Clearly, this would smack of political interference of the greatest order and be at a complete variance with stated DA policy, as the voters of Camps Bay read it.

It is also completely unsustainable for the WCED to annex over 6000m2 of prime public open space to the general exclusion of the needs and requirements of the community as a whole.
A sporting club that has recently been assessed as sustainable by the City, as well as catering for other activities such as karate, Pilates, bridge, various dancing codes and community activities on an on-going daily basis uses this land.

Not only this, but the land is not zoned as a single entity and is further regulated by six different title deeds with a raft of individual restrictions that may not be summarily expunged or amended. There is also a public right of way servitude registered over the property.
The legal implications for the rezoning of this land, in order that it may be alienated for the use by the Education Department, are extremely onerous and will take many years to complete, even in the face of total community support for the process – which it doesn’t currently enjoy.

It is the opinion of the CBRRA that a shared option between the various parties, preferably facilitated by the CBRRA, is the only rational solution to this matter.

Your support, as Premier of the Western Cape, for a fair and equitable, community-based solution is sought in this instance, as well as the co-operation of the various other departments of the Authorities concerned.

In the event that the CPG of Camps Bay has misrepresented the situation vis-a-vis your offices’ involvement in this matter, then the CBRRA apologizes for its statement in this letter but, again, requests your support as per the above paragraph, in order that a sensible, sustainable and acceptable solution can be attained for a problem that clearly is not going to go away.

Kind regards

Chris Willemse
Chair: CBRRA


ATTACHMENT: 1

EXTRACT FROM CONCERNED PARENTS GROUP FACEBOOK PAGE

Things are looking hopeful for 2014! Premier Helen Zille and the Western Cape Education Department have indicated that the expansion project has their full support. The City has also agreed in principle to support the project but has not given notice to the Bowling Club – this is what is still preventing the expansion from going ahead.

For the expansion to happen for next year, the City must give notice to the bowling club ideally by the 1st of June (so that they vacate by the 1st of September this year), or at the very latest by 1st August (to vacate 1st November). This would give the school time to conduct the necessary inspections, begin renovations and open for 2014.

Although aware of the above deadlines, the City has not committed to any dates for the project or even to a date for a progress report. The Camps Bay School expansion team and CPG therefore appeal to all of you to be ready to assist with a possible publicity campaign/protest action – watch this space!

If the expansion goes ahead, the school will also need parents to assist with the renovation at very short notice towards the end of this year and into January. Assistance from anyone with building, renovation or project management skills or contacts would be hugely appreciated – please stand by to help! We’ll keep you posted.

CBRRA Financials 2012








CBRRA AGM Chair's Report



Welcome to all. Cellphones off please.

Firstly, a big thank you to Maree Brink and the Bay Hotel who are always most generous with their hospitality –and special thanks here to Events Manager, Marlize Strydom her team, for all of the arrangements.

To Ann Caras, Mary and Brian Lloyd who man the membership table, my sincere thanks for your tireless efforts.

I’d like to extend a special welcome to the production team that is currently filming the SAF3 series on the beachfront and who will be reporting back on the progress of the production.

Also a warm welcome to our 2 Cllrs., Beverley Schafer and Marga Haywood. They will give a short address on matters pertaining to CB. As always, this is also an opportunity for you to address them on issues that are of concern to you, the ratepayers of Camps Bay.

Thanks to our security guys - Bernard Schafer, Peter Mead, Ian Merrington and Simon Kneel of the Business Forum for their presence here tonight. These are individuals who put a lot of work into ensuring CB’s ongoing security and sustainability.

Approval of the last AGM of 30 July 2012. The minutes were posted on the blog and I would like to get approval for them. Firstly, are there any notes or objections from the floor?

Tonight, from the Chair:

Firstly, I’m sad to inform that Mark Goldberg has resigned from the Manco. He has found that his business and family commitments make it impossible for him to devote the time needed to properly serve on the committee. Mark certainly showed that he could offer many skills in the service of the community and I hope that he sees his way clear to rejoining at a more convenient time in his life. Thank you, Mark.

The election of Manco members will take place as indicated on the agenda.

We would also like to ascertain how the community reacts to our change of time for the meetings. Show of hands, please.

Many members will be aware of the storm that has played out recently in the press and on Capetalk radio, regarding the City’s proposed amendment to the system of delegations for planning matters.
The CBRRA was at the vanguard of this opposition to what it sees as a systematic removal of your property rights.

In short, the Mayor intended to remove the decision-making powers of the subcouncils and delegate that power to planning officials.

This would mean that you would still be notified of planning applications, but your comments and objections would be assessed by non-accountable officials and, as we all know, developers would get everything and anything approved. In reality, we would lose the opportunity to make representations to the committee of our councillors who are accountable to the ratepayers and also have good working knowledge of how things work on the ground.

Cllr Garreth Bloor, the young member for planning on the mayoral committee tried to spin doctor his way through all sorts of very reasoned objections but ultimately had to bow to the pressure of public outrage and the views of local councillors (like Bev and Marga) who resisted this clear attempt to cut out meaningful public participation in favour of the red carpet treatment that the City wants to extend to the developers.

It is abundantly clear that for democracy and property rights to survive the many and various political challenges that always seem to exist, strong ratepayer and civic groups are necessary.

Which leads to the next not so pleasant topic which must be discussed:

Although not all the feedback is available, I can share with you tonight the broad financial picture that has emerged from the well-publicized Harrison case.

Richard will deal with the financials in detail later but the big picture is that the Association’s liabilities currently exceed its assets.

I must point out that as things stand, there is no creditor who can produce an invoice right now and force liquidation.

Essentially, it all comes down to the costs order from the City in this matter and the committee is currently engaged with various options regarding the costs.

  • The City might, as requested by CBRRA, waive or reduce the costs. 
  • Alternatively, a taxation of the bill might lead to a lower affordable figure although this is unlikely to be low enough.
  • Thirdly, we might come to an acceptable repayment plan.

Whatever happens, any final decision in this matter will, of course, be presented to you, the community, at the appropriate time for a resolution.

Just to re-cap the history of the case:

CBRRA and its co-applicant applied for an interim order against Mrs Harrison on the basis that her plans contravened certain title deed and Zoning Scheme restrictions. This was successful and a costs order was granted against Harrison.

Mrs Harrison then removed various contraventions from the plans (like the pool, entrance steps, carport and garden) in order to overcome the restrictions. CBRRA was of the opinion that these omissions made the house unworkable and that the plans were effectively incomplete. Certain contraventions remained.

The City approved these plans and we took the plans on full review to the High Court. This application was unsuccessful and a costs order was made against us.

Our legal team advised that the prospects of a successful appeal to the SCA in Bloemfontein were good. They offered to work on a contingency basis and our co-applicant agreed to cover the costs. On this basis only, the CBRRA proceeded with the action. Ultimately, this and a further Concourt application, on the same terms, failed. The net result to the CBRRA was that we became liable for the bill for Harrison and the City for the High Court action. Our co-applicant has had to bear the costs arising out of the SCA and Concourt.

Richard will deal in more detail with the quantum hereof, but it is in the region of R550k maximum.

I must stress that all actions taken by Manco were carefully considered and similar to the other cases that we have been involved with and where very important rulings have been made in favour of community property rights.

It is unfortunate that we lost on a legal technicality but that shouldn’t detract from what the CBRRA has achieved over the past years – and 10 successful similar court applications - and the rights that have been established for all property owners in this country.

Cllrs report-back

Beverley Schafer
Marga Haywood

Election of Manco members.

The Manco is currently made up of the following members:
Chris Willemse (Chair) - Ward Committee (74) and Planning
Richard Bendell (Vice Chair) - Membership and Finance
John Powell - Ward Committee (54) and Planning
Brenda Herbert - Planning and Events and CPF
Johan van Papendorp - Planning
Gus Millner - Membership
Alma Horn - Membership and PR
Helet Merkling – Clifton & CPF
Byron Herbert - Beach and Dogwalking
Brent Dyssell – Planning & CPF

All members have indicated their willingness to continue on Manco, for which I thank them sincerely.

Call for nominations from the floor.

Are there any objections to this?

Vote on this.

Membership – Gus Millner
Finance         – Richard Bendel

Questions from the floor.

Close.


CBRRA Manco 2013 - 2014


Chris Willemse (Chair) - Ward Committee (74) and Planning

Richard Bendell (Vice Chair) - Membership and Finance

John Powell - Ward Committee (54) and Planning

Brenda Herbert - Planning and Events and CPF

Johan van Papendorp - Planning

Gus Millner - Membership

Alma Horn - Membership and PR

Helet Merkling – Clifton & CPF

Byron Herbert - Beach and Dogwalking

Brent Dyssell – Planning & CPF

Sunday, 25 August 2013

CBRRA Answer to "Progress on school expansion" Atlantic Sun 22 August 2013

The Atlantic Sun article “Progress on School expansion” dated 22 August refers.

For a considerable time now, the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) has been attempting to assist the Camps Bay Preparatory School (CBPS) and the Camps Bay Bowling Club (CBBC) to arrive at a workable compromise in respect of the mutually beneficial use of the City land which is leased from the City by the CBBC. While it is common cause, at first glance, that the CBPS is turning away many applicants due to “lack of space” and the CBBC is perceived to be unsustainable and is allegedly underutilizing its leased property area, the circumstances surrounding the above conclusions need to be carefully examined in respect of their accuracy.

The following is common cause:

1.  The CBBC has been in existence in Camps Bay since 1920 and serves the Community by offering a viable bowling club for its members and, at the same time, permitting its premises to be used by a host of community-orientated activities, such as karate, Pilates, ballroom dancing, line dancing, bridge club and various community activities such as a regular supper club, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations, committee and political meetings etc.
Since the demise of the Civic Centre, this has been the only viable place of assembly available to the public at large.

2.  As recently as March 2013, the City acknowledged the feasibility of the CBBC as a bowling club and in addition as a multi-usage venue for the above community-based activities as well as a meeting place for public meetings. It is wrong that the CBBC should read of this major change of plan by the City through the press, as it smacks of political interference.


3.  Over the period of its existing lease, the bowling club has, at its own cost, erected a considerable amount of improvements on the property, running into millions of rands, for which, if its lease is going to be peremptorily cancelled, it must be compensated in full on a Quantity Surveyor’s current estimate of cost by the new owner of the property.

4.  The presence of the bowling club in Camps Bay for many years has been a feature of the central village area and of significant historical and architectural value, which cannot be swept aside by a simple bureaucratic action without any public participation by the relevant authorities whatsoever, and without reference to the Heritage Western Cape Committee and a thorough EIA process. The clubhouse is the only place in Camps Bay, which has a record of many generations of residents over an extended period, and, as such, has a considerable historic value.

5.   The way Mayco Member (and deputy Mayor) Ald. Ian Nelson is being quoted, the impression is given that the decision by the City to accept the Provincial Government’s request for the land has been decided in the affirmative and that the only real issue now at stake is to agree a market-related value.
This is a cause for great concern by the CBRRA. It would appear as if City-owned land is simply being expropriated without any due process and, more importantly, without public participation. This land is zoned, in the main, as public open space, which is a scarce resource given the developmental pressure on land in the City.

6. Clearly, even with the City’s apparent lack of concern for any form of public participation and possibly coming to an agreement with the Province behind closed doors, there is a long process of re-zoning and consideration of the title deed restrictions that govern the 6 separate erven that make up this site.
In fact, the City’s Director of Planning, Cheryl Walters, warns: ”In statutory terms a re-zoning could take between four and seven months from the date of submission of a completed application.  This would exclude any potential rights of appeal”.  
This could possibly extend the rezoning procedure to a few years.
The possibility of the City unilaterally terminating its valid lease with the CBBC, completing the re-zonings and other statutory processes and the CBPS moving onto the premises by the beginning of 2014 is remote, to say the least.


The CBPS’s need for additional expansion requirements is common cause.
The historical reasons for the present situation result from the ongoing increase in the Camps Bay population, which, after all, should be the primary reason for the school’s existence.
Without debating the merits or otherwise of admitting pupils from far or adjoining suburbs in preference to Camps Bay pupils; the size of the school must always be able to cope with this core pupil population.

With the above in mind, CBBRA is convinced that this very valuable property is far too important for restricted use and must be utilized by as much as is possible of the whole population of Camps Bay.

CBRRA’s architects have produced sketch plans that clearly indicate that a shared option could work and that the time-line to assist the CBPS with additional space could be dramatically reduced by following this route. The current large parking area could easily be reduced, thereby making an area available for a playground and/or a few classrooms. The proposal that 6000m2 be used for “sport and a playground” is clearly unsustainable and wasteful in the extreme.

CBRRA will continue to contribute positively to this sensitive matter in whatever manner possible, in order that the entire population of Camps Bay can benefit equally from the most effective broad use of what is undoubtedly, with the soccer field, the most valuable piece of real estate in the village.


Chris Willemse
Chair CBRRA 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Reply to Cllr Bloor's letter to Civic Association on Public Participation 14 Aug 2013


From: Chris Hudson [mailto:chudson@iafrica.com]
Sent: 21 August 2013 12:55 PM
To: Garreth Bloor
Cc: Anne Murphy; Rodney Cronwright; Neil van der Spuy; Jeremy & Hazel Hele; Chris Everett; Richard B Timms; Keith & Daphne Mackie; Dave Cowley; Ryan Buda; Len Swimmer; Marga Haywood; Taki Amira
Subject: Re: FW: Systems of Delegations

Dear Councillor Bloor

Thank you for your letter concerning the proposed amendment to the System of Delegations. It has so much interesting content which I consider worth a response that I have taken the liberty of putting my thoughts immediately beneath the relevant sections in your letter, so that your remarks and my reactions to them can be easily compared. This document is attached.

Your letter was kindly addressed to myself but I feel sure that I received it in my capacity as a member of either or both the Hout Bay Heritage Trust and the Hout Bay Residents' & Ratepayers' Association.  Accordingly I am copying my reply to persons in those two organisations.  However, I stress that the views I have expressed are mine and not those of either the Trust or the Association.  I am also sending this email to my local councillor and our sub-council chairman so that they are aware of what one of their noisy constituents is up to.

Kind regards

Christopher Hudson



Cllr Bloor's letter:


21/08/2013
Dear Civic Leaders,
Dear Councillor Bloor
As mentioned in my accompanying email, set out below please find my responses to certain of the points made yourself in this letter.
The City of Cape Town is in the process of reviewing the system of delegations pertaining to its Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning (EESP) Portfolio. This forms part of an overall broader assessment of the City’s planning systems. These democratic processes are still unfolding and your input and views are critically important.
In light of the reporting on the matter that led to some confusion - together the City’s principle of communicating openly with the citizens of Cape Town - we would like to clarify a few matters relating to the System of Delegated Authority.
 At the outset, and contrary to a number of media reports, the current delegations review remains as part of a proposal that has not yet been approved by Council or even considered by the Council.
The review of the delegations system comes after engagement with internal structures, which has included consideration of sentiments expressed by various outside bodies, such as civic associations.
 A previous report on this matter to the Mayoral Committee was not put to Council so as to allow for more discussion and refinement of the proposals. This remark is correct in a very narrow sense but disguises the fact that a formal paper entitled “Proposed Amendment to System of Delegations for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning (EESP) matters”, numbered C69290513, was included in the papers circulated for the council meeting on 29 May 2013 and recorded on the agenda for that meeting.  Had it not been for vigorous objections by councillors just prior to the meeting, this item would have been put to the Council.  With the greatest respect, if the intention of your sentence above was to suggest that the Mayoral Committee by itself alone decided not to put this proposal before Council, it is just not true.  I have it on good authority that for once the DA councillors acted ethically and not expediently, stood up to their political superiors and forced the removal of this offensive and ill-considered proposal from being debated in Council.
Over two months have passed and during this time significant changes have been made to the proposals. We are delighted that Mayco has on this occassion taken heed of what its constituents think.
This review of the system of delegations was necessary in terms of Section 59 (1) of the Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000 which necessitates that the system must “enable maximum administrative and operational efficiency in the affairs of Council”. Sec. 59 (1) of the Municipal Systems Act does indeed require that a municipal council must develop a system of delegation that will maximise administrative and operational efficiency” BUT it goes on “and provide for adequate checks and balances”. The proposed altered delegations system in C69290513 did anything but “provide for adequate checks and balances”.

Reviews of this nature are regular and required by law in order to ensure that Council processes ensure effective public input in planning matters, while ensuring that responsible and sustainable development can be achieved. There is nothing in Act 32 of 2000 which requires a review of the delegations system regularly. Sec. 59 (2) merely requires that “A delegation or instruction in terms of subsection (1) must be reviewed when a new council is elected” – that is a very different imperative.  
This review is in line with the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Development Plan, which commits the City to a planning regime that enhances and improves service delivery. The fear of local civic organisations, well-founded on experience in dealing with this City in recent years, unfortunately, is that when a local politician talks about “enhancing and improving service delivery”, what he or she means is making it easier for developers to get around the checks and balances preventing them getting on with their projects to destroy the elements that make Cape Town one of the most envied cities in the world.  I’m sure you don’t fall into that category but the use of such a phrase, without qualification, raises all sorts of spectres in a community subjected to wilful political expediency in decision-making in the past.
At all times we seek to balance the prerequisite for local level engagement regarding planning decisions with the need for responsible development that helps create jobs. The mayor’s battle cry “Red carpet instead of red tape” is as a red rag to a bull for persons who really care for this beautiful part of the world.  Every thinking person here appreciates the enormous pressures that uncontrolled internal immigration is placing on the City’s resources but this misguided view that unbridled development equals economic prosperity for Cape Town, without thinking through the longterm implications, is tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
The process of formal public participation is not under review or up for debate. The review mainly concerns the decision-making element relating to land use planning functions.
Public participation processes will continue as is formally prescribed by law and Ward Councillors will continue to be informed of applications, as is the current practice. The City has always considered this a valuable and essential part of the process. I’m sure that what I am now going to say will further infuriate you but for you to think that assuring the community that “Ward Councillors will continue to be informed of applications” will console us, is wishful thinking.  We are well aware that councillors are beholden to their political masters/mistresses for their daily bread and that there are precious few of them who have the private means to enable them to cross their political superiors by standing up for what they and their constituents believe in.  Take the recent Philippi Horticultural Area vote in Council as a perfect example: 127 DA councillors For, despite intense lobbying by their wards against this unthinking rape of one of Cape Town’s agricultural jewels and scarce pure water resources.
Despite reporting that suggested otherwise, neither the Executive Mayor nor any other single individual will be making all the decisions on planning matters. This was never an option and never will be. Furthermore, whatever structure of Council makes a planning decision, full auditable records are always kept to further enhance transparency. Unfortunately this assurance concerning auditable records is not reassuring.  By the time anyone has a need to ask for sight of such a record, the deed that is the subject of the record concerned has been done. The saying about Bolting Horses and Stable Doors comes to mind.  What the Cape Town community is asking for is full compliance with the Constitutional imperative [I refer you to Sec. 152 (1) (e) of the Constitution] that NO decision that affects its citizens is taken without full public participation in the decision-making process AND real weight, not just lip-service, being given to the public’s input; I’m sure you will appreciate that land use management matters are a particularly sensitive matter to local communities.
Further discussion has led to the proposal that Subcouncils are to decide on all policy-compliant applications should any public objections be lodged when an objection has been received. When there is no objection from the community and a matter is policy-compliant, unnecessary delays will be avoided. The retention of the present system of delegations to sub-councils, which works well, is sensible.  Delays in the consideration of land use planning applications do not occur in the sub-council area: there are strict timetables to which these bodies have to adhere in these matters; I’m sure you are well aware that planning applications languish in one or another City department for over a year on occasion.
The City’s Spatial Planning, Environment and Land Use Management Committee will consider all larger applications that trigger environmental or traffic impact assessments. This proposed move is a retrograde step.  A planning application which triggers, say, a TIA, may also have significant local impacts of which the distant SPELUM committee may not be readily aware.  ALL applications should first be subjected to scrutiny at sub-council level.
There is a FUNDAMENTAL error in what you have said in the last two paragraphs.  They both infer that Mayco has completed a review of what it tried to get passed in May and as a result the City has decided on a new set of proposals on this EESP Delegations matter.  If I am correct in my inference, the public participation which the mayor promised in her article on 12 August is sadly lacking.  Mind you, in that article the mayor stated “We are compelled in law to do public participation” so it is crystal clear that she doesn’t willingly relish the idea of such interaction and so will only undertake it when compelled by law so to do.
In addition, the law still allows for appeal to the relevant body in Council, regardless of which structure took the decision, thus allowing the opportunity for decisions to be reviewed where necessary. This means all decisions can be appealed, including that of the Mayoral Committee. Please advise the correct process for appealing a decision of the Mayoral Committee.
These checks and balances are fundamental to protecting the rights of all interested parties.
Notwithstanding the above at this stage of discussions, no final decision has been taken on the reviewed system and it is yet to be formally considered by Council. To date all that has taken place is debate and consideration of the merits of various models that will help to ensure administrative and operational efficiency, which is in line with democratic and consultative principles. When will the public participation in consideration of these models take place, please?
A primary driver of reviewing the delegations was to streamline accountability within the City by officials reporting to your elected representatives – not to vest power in any single person but rather to centre responsibility in the executive civil servant appointed to oversee the planning departments. The problem is that the discredited proposals did just that – they vested power in a single person.
A single point of responsibility and accountability (not decision-making) of the previous functionally fragmented delegations to individual departments is now proposed - to ensure sustainable and integrated triple bottom-line (environmental, social and economic sustainability) decision-making.
Robust debate is a necessary part of reaching the best possible and most efficient decision-making system with the necessary transparency and accountability to the people of Cape Town. There is no need for any individual or grouping to feel that local input into planning decisions is being done away with, when in fact this will always be protected. Good news.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office should you have any further questions on this matter.
Your role as civil society is deeply valued, thus please use this and other open channels of communication to ensure Cape Town advances as a world class city for its residents. Thank you for this invitation.  It is in this spirit that I have written in response and hope that you will view it as constructive comment from a very concerned citizen.
Christopher John Hudson
“Grantchester”, 9 Campbell Road. Hout Bay

Sincerely
Councillor Bloor