Monday 23 MAY 2016 at 18h30 at THE ROTUNDA, BAY HOTEL
3 Chair’s introduction
4 Councillors’ report back
5 The City’s land-grab of Maidens Cove
6 Camps Bay Medics
8 Name change for the Association
10 The Prep School & Bowling Club saga
Message from the chair
Welcome to all.
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, Lloyd Brown and his team, for all of the arrangements, especially Rolanda, who has prepared the table tonight.
Elections for local government are soon upon us and it is the duty of the CBRRA to inform you of the performance of local councilors and the City administration over their past term in office. But I’ll deal with this later.
Rob Tiffin of the Zwaanswyk Ratepayers association and a civic organizer, has kindly agreed to share his thoughts and plans with us tonight and this relates to how we can best represent ourselves in the current system.
Unfortunately, Phillip Bam, a tireless fighter for civic rights in CT was unable to attend tonight. His experience of local government, especially concerning the land issues surrounding the attempted sale by the de Lille regime of the Princess Vlei area and the ongoing illegal incremental development of the Philippi Horticultural Area.
Also, Cllrs Jacques Weber and Marga Haywood are currently out of town and have sent their apologies. Neither will not be standing in the upcoming election. Cllr Demetri Qually, the Chair of the GHSC, is otherwise engaged this evening and also has sent his apologies.
Tonight’s meeting will take the form of a report-back of the most pressing and relevant matters pertaining to the Camps Bay civic landscape. We will keep it as short and to the point as possible and take questions after each item.
Of course, the committee will be available after the meeting to discuss any issues that you may have in more detail.
I’ll start off with an overview from the Chair:
The Manco thus is made up of the following members:
Chris Willemse (Chair) Ward Committee (74) and Planning
Richard Bendel (Vice Chair) Membership and Finance
Brenda Herbert Planning and Events and CPF
Johan van Papendorp Planning
Gus Millner Membership
Alma Horn Membership and PR
Helet Merkling Clifton
Byron Herbert Beach and Events
Neil Gardner Maidens Cove Development
Michael Smorenburg Communications
The Manco is in great need of an additional planning member – someone who has technical experience and knowledge of the local government procedures and law. If you feel that this is you or you can suggest a suitable candidate, please let me know.
There is good news on the financial side, which Richard will deal with later.
In my opinion – and with twenty years of dealing directly with various City administrations – it is very difficult to rate an administration holistically and tonight I’ll confine my comments to the current de Lille administration:
On the whole, the administration adequately manages the line functions of services such as roads, stormwater and parks. Of course, the problems with sewerage disposal into the Atlantic Ocean is extremely problematic and the politicians are clearly ducking and diving this issue – to the utter detriment of the environment and citizens.
However, all – and I mean all - civic bodies throughout the City battle with this administration in terms of planning and land issues. This is, unfortunately, a regime that has, as its primary goal, a one-sided development (and developer) friendly policy.
One needs to unpack this approach: Firstly, it would be naïve to simply reject development, as it is an important part of the progress and wealth generation for any city administration and critical to its very existence. And from the political viewpoint, it is a no-brainer for a ruling party in that the planning approval process generates income for the City, the construction phase offers short-term employment opportunities and the completed buildings are a major source of rates. Developers are always desperate for opportunities and, with their often very deep pockets, are generous with party funding. So, all I all, a very sweet and mutually rewarding relationship.
However, this is also a relationship that is open to abuse. And abused it is in Cape Town. The political system has to be strong to drive the correct type of development, and this in the face of the paymaster developers simply want the richest pickings – and why not, from their profit driven point of view?
This is where the system and the DA have failed. Developers are now driving the process with the ruling DA simply doing the industry’s bidding in return for massive party funding. Mayor de Lille has a fast-track strategy for identifying City-owned land for development. However, it is not in the areas of most need and is mostly completely inappropriate.
The sale of the nature reserve at Maidens Cove will be addressed by Neil and is a breathtaking example of a land grab of scarce public open space for private development and private enrichment.
De Lille recently had to back down in the sale of Princess Vlei to a preferred developer due to massive public outcry and, despite a legal directive from central government specifically prohibiting it, de Lille is slowly rezoning and selling off the Philippi Horticultural Area. I must remind you that this area supplies about 70% of Cape Town’s green vegetable requirements. It is also located above the Cape Flat’s precious groundwater aquifer. None of this deters the mayor from grabbing this land for her friends in the development industry. And that, quite frankly, is scary.
To touch on the councilors, I would like to point out that both our councillors have served the area well – albeit in their own ways.
It is important to recognize that ward councillors are generally carefully controlled by the party caucus and cannot help much with the party’s major policy.
Marga has always been available to address planning issues but, sadly, the planning department has long been a law unto itself and now has political backing in high places. It appears as if she finally fell out with the senior party management and was instrumental in the successful court action brought against the City by certain Bakoven residents and the CBRRA.
Just to give you an idea of de Lille’s management style, in this case of an illegally approved bungalow plan, she entered into litigation with the community (using our money, of course) against the express advice of the City’s legal department. The matter was in court when she learnt that Marga was willing to testify on behalf of the community, which might have resulted in certain senior DA councillors being found guilty of perjury – so she immediately dropped the case and offered to pay costs. All this with other people’s money!
We will be reporting this abuse of process which resulted in fruitless and wasteful expenditure of ratepayers money to the Public Protector’s office. It has become patently clear that de Lille is very quick to litigate with taxpayers’ money in order to scare off challenges to her rule.
We had this in the Bowling Club matter, the Wynberg MyCiti matter and most recently in the Chrissie Phillip’s vs Bradbury matter, also in Bakoven. The former two cases were lost by the City, with costs.
I’ll keep you updated on the CP matter, where judgement is expected soon.
Jacques was extremely helpful in most areas, especially security – but bought into the DA’s line on expropriating public land for private profit and DA funding. In fact, he actively supported the sale of the Maidens Cove area, although the civic organizations in his ward were dead against it. Maybe he planned on staying longer in the DA than has actually happened!
I understand that he is headed for the commercial world.
We wish them both success in their future career paths.
Bearing in mind that the CBRRA is not a politically aligned body – and that Rob Tiffin is definitely civic based – I call on Rob to address us on his take on the political situation in CT.
Neil Gardner will give his insights into the Maidens Cove development.
Camps Bay Medics – Ian Austin.
Byron Herbert will update traffic matters.
Name change. Proposed renaming to Camps Bay & Clifton Residents Association. To be ratified at next AGM.
Planning. With renewed confidence in the Atlantic seaboard property market, the applications are increasing noticeably.
We urge all affected neighbours to contact the CBRRA if they are unsure about an application.
Eban Tucker reports on the CBBC CBPS saga.
Finance – Richard Bendel
Questions from the floor.