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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Press Release: Concourt ruling in Harrison Matter

The CBRRA is disappointed that the Constitutional Court has dismissed its appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal judgement in this matter.

The SCA had found, as a matter of fact, that the plans approved by the City of Cape Town did not comply with the Zoning Scheme on at least one critical point. But this Court ruled that this contravention was raised in reply rather than in founding papers and would not condone the point, making it a legal technical decision. However, given the real situation on the ground, where the City have, according to the SCA, incorrectly approved plans, the CBRRA and its co-applicant continue to feel justified in bringing this action, both in the public interest and the promotion of proper City governance.

CBRRA stresses that the contention by the Courts, that this is merely a dispute between neighbours, is not the situation – CBRRA embarked on this course of action because it believed that the approval of the plans contravened both Zoning Scheme regulations and Title Deed restrictions and that the application was in the general public interest.

Of course, the Constitutional Court is clearly the end of the line legally and the CBRRA must, and will, abide by its decision.

CBRRA has long fought, what it considers, the City Planning Department’s inequitable planning approval process. To date, the CBRRA has successfully challenged the City planners’ approval process in 7 cases.

Excluding the technical legal point in this case, that might have been eight. This is CBRRA’s first unsuccessful application.

CBRRA will continue to fight against the City’s frequently incorrect and inconsistent planning approval process. The number of other cases brought successfully against the City in other suburbs suggests that civic action of this nature is both necessary and in the general interest of the ratepayers of Cape Town.



7 November 2010

Letter to the Atlantic Sun
The Courts seemed very pre-occupied with the idea that this was a fight between neighbours and generally seemed to disregard CBRRA's contention that planning laws were being contravened and due process not followed.

In fact, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that the High Court had erred in not ruling that the building did not comply with the Zoning Scheme in one very important aspect, but then refused to find it a ground for review because it ruled that the objection had been raised at too late a stage. This is devastating for CBRRA because it means that the plans shouldn't have been approved in the first place but now, due to legal technicalities, an illegal buiilding will be allowed to be built.

CBRRA was always confident of their case and rightfully so, given the SCA decision. CBRRA didn't expect that the failure of the City planning department to properly approve the plans would be less important than the belief that we took sides in a petty fight between two neighbours.

Certainly, nobody makes money out of losing court battles but most of the application has been funded to date by CBRRA's so-called "war-chest" and various benefactors who contributed funds specifically for this purpose. CBRRA will consider the remaining costs as they arise out of the taxing bill and deal with it accordingly.

The CBRRA remains totally committed to its mandate to serve and protect the community and suburbs of Camps Bay, Clifton and Bakoven without fear or favour. There is no plan to disband and/or reconstitute the Association and I am personally confident that we enjoy the support of the majority of residents and ratepayers of this community. The incredible amount of work that the Manco of the CBRRA do on a voluntary basis is appreciated.

The 7 cases that CBRRA have successfully prosecuted against the City planners has had a major effect on the built environment of the suburb and, in fact, the City as a whole. CBRRA cases are quoted as case law in so many instances throughout the country.

Clearly, that was money well spent. That CBRRA lost this case on legal technicalities is a bitter pill to swallow but must not daunt us from continuing to strive for a City planning department that is fair and equitable and doesn't destroy the very fabric of our community. Essentially, the elected officials have to intervene in this matter as it is ultimately their mandate to ensure good governance in the City.

CBRRA is currently involved as a co-applicant in three matters before the High Court. In all three, temporary interdicts have already been granted against the respondents pending final review of the plans.

Anthony "Buddy' Herman can be reached on 021 4191450 (work).



10 November 2010

The Editor
Cape Times

Dear Sir

The Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) deems it necessary to respond to your article on the Camps Bay house “sea view” saga (Cape Times Nov 5th), to both contextualise the matter and better inform the ratepayers and residents of this City.

The CBRRA is disappointed that the Constitutional Court dismissed its appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgement in this matter.

However, the SCA had found, as a matter of fact, that the plans approved by the City of Cape Town did not comply with the Zoning Scheme on at least one critical point. But the SCA ruled that this contravention was raised in replying- rather than in founding papers and would not condone the alleged delay, making it a legal technical decision. However, given the real situation on the ground, where the City have, according to the SCA, incorrectly approved plans, the CBRRA and its co-applicant continue to feel justified in bringing this action, both in the public interest and the promotion of proper City governance.

The issue of “a fight between neighbours over a view” merely serves to trivialise a real problem facing all property owners in this City: The inability, or unwillingness, of the City’s planning department to properly and correctly assess planning applications. The recent High Court ruling in the Bantry Bay case and numerous problem cases in Camps Bay serve to underline this point. However, the WC High Court, in this matter, rejected the case made by the CBRRA regarding important issues pertaining to the interpretation and execution of planning law. CBRRA feels that this was an opportunity lost to clarify some very vague and contradictory planning laws. Given the SCA’s ruling though, it is quite clear that an illegal structure has been condoned.

CBRRA embarked on this course of action because it believed that the approval of the plans contravened both Zoning Scheme regulations and Title Deed restrictions and that this legal application was in the general public interest. The City, instead of not opposing the application and agreeing to abide by the ruling of the Court, as it normally does, took the unprecedented step of entering a legal battle against ratepayers - using ratepayers’ money. This is extremely concerning. The fact that its planning department had it wrong in the first place is particularly galling to those citizens who have devoted an enormous amount of time and money to the case – and the cause.

CBRRA has long fought, what it considers, the City Planning Department’s inequitable planning approval process. The CBRRA has successfully challenged the City planners’ approval process in all 7 cases brought to date. Excluding the technical legal point in this case, that might have been eight.

CBRRA will continue to fight against the City’s frequently incorrect and inconsistent planning approval process. The number of other cases brought successfully against the City in other suburbs suggests that civic action of this nature is both necessary and in the general interest of the ratepayers of Cape Town.


Monday, 11 October 2010

Apartment gutted in Camps Bay

A student sustained burns and another person suffered from smoke inhalation when a fire broke out in an apartment block in Camps Bay on Sunday afternoon, Western Cape paramedics said.

“It is believed that a young male student who was the sole occupant of the apartment, allegedly fell asleep with a cigarette,” said Netcare 911 spokeswoman Lauren Copley.

“Several Metro fire and rescue vehicles also rushed to the scene to extinguish the fire, which entirely gutted at least one apartment in which the student was staying.”

Paramedics said the man sustained first degree burns to the neck, while another person, believed to be a neighbour, was treated for smoke inhalation.

The student was stabilised on the scene on Geneva Drive before being taken to hospital. - Sapa

Monday, 20 September 2010

New ManCo 2010-2011

At the Manco meeting held on 13 September at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, a new chair, two vice chairs and the following portfolios heads were selected for the year 2010-2011. CBRRA wants to thank these members for their efforts, time and passion that is so generously offered to the community. There is a desperate need for a new Minutes Secretary and a Membership Portfolio head. If anyone is interested in these positions, please contact John Powell on 27 21 438 8287 urgently.


Chair Planning / City Council Liaison

Chris Willemse

27 83 653 6363

cnwillemse @


Finance / PR & Communications / Planning / GCTCA Liaison / Rates Liaison / Sub Council Liaison

John Powell

27 82 556 3086 / 27 21 438 8287

powelltalk @


Special Projects / Environment

Michele Harvey

27 21 422 4706

michele @

Special Projects / Environment

Sandy van Hoogstraten

27 84 500 0886

sandy @

Planning and Cleansing

Trudi Groenewald

27 82 452 3776

groensee @

Planning / Events & Signage Liaison / Safety & Security Liaison

Brenda Herbert

083 626 1731

brenda @

PR & Communication

Alma Horn

083 628 9105

almahorn @

Hon Treasurer

Mary Lloyd

021 438 8712

hooba @

Planning and Environment

Johan van Papendorp

082 420 2922

jvp @


Gus Millner

gus.millner @

Minutes Secretary

Chrissie Phillips

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Atlantic Sun 9 Sep '10 - Reply to Ms Cheryl Walters

Re: The letter from Ms Cheryl Walters ("City will not ignore illegal building works", Atlantic Sun August 26).

Ms Walters, the Director for Planning and Building Development Management for the City, takes your readers through the rather tortuous manner in which illegal building operations have to be dealt with by the City, in terms of the Land Use Planning Ordinance and their own operational methods. One must wonder why no improvement to this system has been made to date but, until such time as the largest City in the Province actually does so, its citizens must accept the law as it stands.

However, Ms Walters ignores the real problem that all ratepayer groups complain of in this regard: The City almost systematically fails to curb illegal building work and then when such work is brought to their attention by the community, the Planning Department (PD) invariably support whatever departures and consents that are required to retrospectively legitimise the building.

The well-publicised Bantry Bay development on Beach Road is just such a case, This development, despite having deviated substantially from the original, approved plans and having attracted cease work orders, had its "rider" plans supported for approval by the PD to the Good Hope Subcouncil ! Thankfully, the committee of Cllr Taki Amira stood firm and rejected the application. CBRRA is greatly encouraged by the brave stand taken by the politicians.

The Crystal block in Woodford Ave, Camps Bay tells a similar tale. The developer deliberately deviated from the levels of the basement depicted on the approved plans.When CBRRA complained of this, the City requested amended plans but allowed the building work to the upper floors to continue, contending that these floors were as per the approved plans. However they couldn't explain how those floors would stand up if the basement was rejected.
Of course, the City had no intention of rejecting the amended basement plans and even though, in the end, it did take a year of fiddling with the plans (ie working without plans), the "rider" plans were passed - irregularly in the opinion of the CBRRA and its legal team. The only ray of hope emanating from this flagrant disregard for the community, is that the Mayor and Speaker of the City are considering the appointment of an independent investigation into the approval process. This follows strong representations from CBRRA. However, it is small comfort for those who live in the shadow of this massive block which is now being occupied by new owners and tenants.

It would be wise for Ms Walters to accept that developers "know" the system and simply build themselves into so-called "impregnable" positions - where it is easier for the City to retrospectively approve plans rather than face possible legal action from a developer who will claim that it should not be prejudiced, at a later stage, when that the City allowed the contraventions in the first place.

Ms Walters must resolve this problem urgently to regain any modicum of community confidence in her department.

Chris Willemse
Chair : CBRRA Planning

Atlantic Sun 9 Sep '10 - Tree planting

Saturday, 28 August 2010

CBRRA asks you to come and plant a tree!

The Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) invites you to join it at its tree planting ceremony at 11-00 am on Saturday 4 September 2010 in The Little Glen in Camps Bay for about 30 minutes.

Come and join us in celebrating the arrival of Spring, by planting a tree so that we can give thanks to mother nature for supplying us with the means to clean our air and green our environment.

This will be a special day, when Council Officials and Councillors will grace us with their presence to illustrate their commitment to our beautiful environment.

The Police, those involved in the safety and security of Camps Bay and people representing the community at large, be it representatives from the Scouts, Camps Bay schools, Churches and especially Friends of The Little Glen will be joining us to also show their support and appreciation of this important occasion generated by Richard Dames of CBRRA.

CBRRA looks forward to seeing you there and hopes that this will be the forerunner of similar annual tree planting initiatives in the future.

CBRRA sincerely thanks the Camps Bay residents who donated the necessary funds to pay the Council labour which will be necessary on the day. Should you wish to similarly donate a tree, CBBRA will be most grateful.

See you there !

Atlantic Sun - The Crystal 5 August 2010

Reply letter (see Thomas Geh letter below)

It is a fact of life that when an organisation or individual stands up for the rights of the people, certain disaffected individuals will attempt to vilify their public spirited efforts. South Africa has a long, often sad, legacy of this.

Mr Geh has been running a long standing personal vendetta against the CBRRA, in general, and me in particular, to which the many residents of Camps Bay who have received his unsolicited defamatory e-mails will attest.

Indeed, Geh served for a long period on the CBRRA Manco - but was required to leave the planning portfolio many years ago due to the conflicts of interest that frequently arose with his own projects.

However, CBRRA is not interested in being drawn down into his mudslinging match and responds to his comments as follows:
The CBRRA certainly supports sensible, sensitive and sustainable development. This is policy. The fact that it has brokered over 100 agreements between Applicants and Affected Neighbours for new development, bears testimony to this. There is not another ratepayer organisation that is so pro-active.

The Cape Town Stadium in Green Point falls outside the sphere of influence of CBRRA. Whether the billions spent on this magnificent stadium and precinct can be justified, will remain a moot point.

The fact that Troben Heights was in a poor condition does not, in any way, condone the illegal structure that the City has now allowed to be built on the site. A well designed, legal building would have been just fine.

Geh is wrong when he claims that this large building complies with the Zoning Scheme and title deed restrictions.

It is a complete non sequitur that developers will not develop legal structures that the community accepts. But they will push the envelope for financial gain if possible - and it is the ratepayer organisations throughout the City that must guard against this. The City do not, in our experience, protect community rights.

As an example, the CBRRA made it a condition of approval that the roof of the Geh-designed block at the top of Geneva Drive be lower than the adjoining sidewalk on Camps Bay Drive at any point. Without CBRRA intervention, the exquisite viewline from the Camps Bay Drive would have been broken. However, a developer has been prepared to accept the requirements of the community and the completed building is to the satisfaction of all parties

Insofar as my house is concerned, Geh's 2 year long tirade needs to be put in context:
  • The approved plans comply with the coverage requirements
  • It is a 3-storey building with a basement which is completely legal. Given the steep site and that the building is only 2 storeys at any point (in fact, 1 storey in over 50% of the erf), a further storey would be legal,
  • At the time of plan approval (2004), there was no restriction on a pool being built in the setback area.
  • The City refused to police the "built upon" area at that time. As this title deed condition is actually in favour of my neighbours, I obtained their approval for this indulgence prior to plan submission to the City, which is what the CBRRA encourages.
  • There are no building line encroachments, hence the planning approval.
Geh's architectural planning applications almost always draw fierce resistance from affected neighbours, for the manifold reasons enumerated in their various letters of objection. This is not the doing of the CBRRA and that situation will not be changed by Geh launching personal attacks on the CBRRA or individual members.

Chris Willemse's reply (CBRRA PLANNING)


Letter to the Atlantic Sun, 5 August 2010:

Regarding the Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CBRRA) letter “Crystal clear”, Atlantic Sun, July 29.
I have been a Camps Bay resident and architect since 1971, was an active member of the CBRRA and I am fully aware of the ongoing developmental calamities, drama and bickering in our suburb.

Ratepayer and civic associations can play a very important role and have done good work in several fields. However many members and often unelected activists are conservative individuals who simply can't accept change and would prefer to turn the clock back to the “good old days”, but the rest of us know that urban renewal and densification is essential. Typical case: the Green Point Stadium and Urban Park. First court cases, demonstrations and now praise by the same antagonists.

Here in Camps Bay we now have the Crystal case, amongst others, where Chris Willemse for the CBRRA has now for months complained about all the “illegalities” approved by the City and the construction by the “greedy” developers (see CBRRA blog page) who want to line their pockets with gold as is often claimed by objectors.

Several years ago I designed the four town houses next door (29 Woodford Avenue) and had to get the consent of the neighbours and CBRRA for the four units and had to also consider the Crystal site conditions.

At that stage the old flats known as Trauben Heights was already a rundown, dilapidated building with no gardens, unkempt embankment with half dead and burned alien shrubs, rocks and no pavement. CBRRA and neighbours complained over years to the owners and the City without success. It is also a fact that the old flats were on a level platform well above the street more or less where the current new ground floor is. The parking basement was largely excavated into the embankment. Furthermore the zoning scheme permits 2.10m fill above the original natural level. Whatever Mr Willemse's argument, the new embankments and retaining walls are a vast improvement over the past situation. When in a few years the plants have grown and cover the ground and walls the previously unattractive streetscape will certainly be an enhancement to the built environment. Yes, the building is large, but this is what the title deed and zoning scheme permits, so why bash the developer and the City? Without developers we would not have rental accommodation, no work, no jobs.

Mr Willemse's vendetta against developers, the City and individuals like myself is the height of hypocrisy when viewed against his own development at 13 Blinkwater Road Camps Bay where he started to build his own four-floor development, the top floor in front of his previous house terrace behind which he sold. The development exceeds permissible coverage, the building lines are encroached and structures built on the street boundary are in conflict with the title deed and applicable law. It also seems that in this case the plans were approved erroneously.

Instead of looking at the Crystal pavement, as Chris suggests, have a look at his interdicted development.

A person like that should not judge others! Apart from this Medburn Road, Woodford Ave and others to a large extent do not have accessible pedestrian pavements. There are also not many mothers in Camps Bay pushing prams, but Mr Willemse is on a Robin Hood ego trip and should get real for the benefit of his CBRRA and all of us.

I also think The Crystal looks a bit oversized, but very much better than the old ugly flats in Camps Bay. The CBRRA should use their scarce resources and the empty “war kitty” in a more proactive manner elsewhere.

Good luck with that!

Thomas Geh, Camps Bay architect

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dogwalking Survey results


A very large proportion of residents in Camps Bay own dogs and love to take them out for exercise, but these dog walks have become a pain to dog owners rather than a pleasure thanks to the enforcement of the bylaw against dogs off leash. Problem is that many of the dogs in Camps Bay are medium to large dogs. They are not lapdogs. They are part of our security system. They need more exercise than what a normal middle-aged person can give them on leash. Frankly, they need somewhere where they can run free, meet other dogs, play, splash in the sea and generally enjoy themselves. We owe it to them.

CBRRA understands that the enjoyment of the use of the beach by people who do not own dogs must also be ensured, in a manner by means of which dog owners and the remainder of the beach going population can be equally and fairly catered for. CBRRA has therefore evolved a solution which it considers will amicably solve the existing ongoing problem. As proposed at CBRRA's public meeting on 16 March 2010, it wishes to take a proposal to the Ward Forum for consideration and hopefully submission to the Sub-council for approval. The issue will be discussed with City Council officials, but firstly we needed to assess the reaction of the community.

• We ran a survey through our blog. This was advertised on our blog and in the Atlantic Sun.
SUMMER: 01 November to 30 April
a. Dogs only on leashes - 6 pm to 5 am
b. Dogs not on leashes - 5 am to 9 am
c. No dogs allowed on beach - 9 am to 6 pm.

WINTER: 01 May to 31 October
d. Dogs only on leashes – 3 pm to 6 am
e. Dogs not on leashes - 6 am to 11 am
f. No dogs allowed on beach - 11 am to 3 pm

As a further initiative we also gauged your reaction to the following proposal:
All areas except The Glen picnic area: 
The Glen picnic area: 
b. ON LEASH: Saturday & Sunday 12h00 to sunset.
c. OFF LEASH: All hours except the abovementioned.

• A total of 142 responses were received.
• Although 118 responses were in favour of YES TO ALL of our proposal, many residents showed a negative reaction to any dog off leash at any time due to an experience with a dog owner who was unable to manage their dog off leash. We urge you to take other residents into consideration while walking your dog and to be a responsible dog owner.

We will submit our proposal at the next Ward Forum for consideration.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

AGM 2010 Agenda

CBRRA ‘s Annual General Meeting
Thursday 19 August 2010 @ 19h30

Chairperson’s Report
Approval of 2009 AGM Minutes
Election of ManCo Members for 2010 of 2011
Speaker: Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold (CEO Cape Tourism)
Speaker: Leigh Goldschmidt (CB Community Medics)
Finance Report
Approval of Annual Financial Statements 31 Dec ‘09
Speaker: Councillor Marga Haywood
Rates & New Municipal Boundary
Speaker: Roger Trythall (Ensuring Energy Security )
Read all about the presentation ‹‹here››
Dogwalking Survey Feedback
Other Matters
Questions from the floor

READ all about CBRRA's ACHIEVEMENTS over the last year.

Friday, 6 August 2010


  • Worked together in a successful communal effort with several other Camps Bay civic organisations in Dec 2009 to get illegal ‘changing rooms’ removed from the grass verges.
  • Assisted in obtaining large rates repayments for CBRRA members from excessive rate assessments.
  • Removed unsightly and illegal signs on a continuous basis.
  • Assisted with the clean up of The Glen, The Little Glen and public spaces in Camps Bay.
  • Ran survey amongst community members regarding their views on Dogwalking, the result of which is to be proposed at the next Ward meeting for inclusion in the new by-law.
  • Ongoing servitudes prepared to enable fair and amicable legally enforceable agreements between neighbours, builders and developers, thereby encouraging positive and sympathetic redevelopment.
  • Founder member of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) which brings problems within the City Council Planning and Rates departments to the attention of politicians and City Council officialdom and assists ratepayers associations in their dealings with Municipal, Provincial and National governmental affairs.
  • Alerted the City Parks to cut verges later, enabling the ‘fynbos’ to bloom and reseed.
  • Assisted Auctioneers and the Heritage Committee to ensure the protection of the Stone Cottages in Geneva Drive, icons of Camps Bay heritage, when they were put up for auction and threatened with unsuitable redevelopment.
  • Ensured that events proposed for Camps Bay, especially during seasonal holidays along the beachfront, would not prevent residents from the peaceful enjoyment of their properties while still encouraging the lively and friendly ambiance of Camps Bay as a holiday destination.
  • Prompted the City Council to finally offer free trees and shrubs for planting in Camps Bay’s public spaces.
  • Assisted Camps Bay Schools campus in their ongoing attempts to obtain new leases of a suitable length for their playing fields.
  • Supported the CB Community Medics, including cash donations.
  • Representation on the CB Community Police Forum and Liquor Licensing Committee.
  • CBRRA registered as a Non-Profit Organisation.
  • Enforced the previous government to allow Camps Bay to be a mixed race beach – the first in South Africa in the 1980s – within two years all beaches in the country were mixed.
  • Persuaded the City Council:
    – to limit buildings to not exceed 10m high above ground level to eaves level after the erection of Sonnekus Flats in the 1970s;
    – to demolish the civic centre in the 1980s;
    – to expropriate the Rotunda Hotel and Ballroom and to preserve the latter;
    – to compile the proposal call for a new village centre and hotel and assisted in the adjudication and monitor the construction.
  • Initiated the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and created the master design for the redevelopment of Camps Bay main beach in 2001. Continue to incentivise City Council to carry out the uncompleted redevelopment plan of the beachfront.
  • Monitoring the EIA process and controlling the development of the Roundhouse site together with Friends of the Glen.
  • Initiated the construction by City Council of amenities buildings at Maidens Cove beach.
  • Arranged for City Council to convert one east / west soccer field to two north / south fields at the sports club.
  • Resisted multiple applications for shopping centres, parking basements, cinemas and other development under the soccer field.
  • Won four court cases against City Council resulting in amendments to the zoning scheme.
  • Assisted in the responses to the proposed new Integrated Zoning Scheme since 2001.
  • Motivated City Council to erect a lifesaver’s hut on main beach, monitor design and building.
  • After killings of pedestrians by motorists in Victoria Road, CBRRA motivated Council to erect pedestrian zebra crossings and initiated their maintenance.

AGM Agenda

CBRRA ‘s Annual General Meeting
Thursday 19 August 2010 @ 19h30

Chairperson’s Report
Approval of 2009 AGM Minutes
Election of ManCo Members for 2010 of 2011
Speaker: Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold (CEO Cape Tourism)
Speaker: Leigh Goldschmidt (CB Community Medics)
Finance Report
Approval of Annual Financial Statements 31 Dec ‘09
Speaker: Councillor Marga Haywood
Rates & New Municipal Boundary
Speaker: Roger Trythall (Ensuring Energy Security )
Dogwalking Survey Feedback
Other Matters
Questions from the floor

READ all about CBRRA's ACHIEVEMENTS over the last year.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Crystal Clear - Atlantic Sun 29 July 2010

The Editor
Atlantic Sun

Dear Sir

Your article “City’s planning decisions probed” (Atlantic Sun 22 July) refers.
Whereas the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (CBRRA) is affiliated to the GCTCA and supports their efforts in this matter, there are issues specific to Camps Bay that must be highlighted in response to the rather pious comments attributed to the Executive Director of Strategy & Planning, Mr Piet van Zyl.

CBRRA has raised many examples of incorrect planning approvals over the years. These have, in the main, been ignored by the Planning Department (PD). On six occasions the CBRRA and affected neighbours have been forced into the uninviting position of pursuing exorbitant High Court action to correct the City’s planning decisions. In five of those cases (one is still awaiting judgment), interdicts were granted by the Court, based on the submissions that CBRRA had made to the PD in the first place.

Without going into the many CBRRA interventions, it is pertinent to raise one that has been on-going for the past 18 months: The Crystal apartment block, whose monolithic bulk straddles the area between Woodford Ave, Medburn Rd and the Camps Bay Drive.

Probably one of the largest developments in Camps Bay, it has received the protection of City planning officials from the outset. This included allowing the developer to continue construction without suitably approved plans for over a year. The weak excuse being that the top floors weren’t subject to planning deviation, so could continue to be built on an unauthorized basement, which “…would be sorted out later…” !!

CBRRA contends that there are at least 4 major planning violations that have been ignored by the PD. This has been supported by expert Senior Counsel opinion. The PD dismisses this and relies on its own SC opinion, which fails to cover all points raised – but that is a separate issue. CBRRA requested the City to approach the High Court for a declarator order to decide the differences in SC opinions. Not only was it crucial to determine the illegality or otherwise of the proposed building but could also have been used as a means to clarify many planning laws that seem unclear to both the City and the communities they purportedly serve. Predictably, citing the usual excuses, this was rejected and the opinion favouring the developer taken as correct.

However, throughout this process, the CBRRA has based its opposition to this massive development on indisputable fact. And thanks to Cllrs Taki Amira and JP Smith, as late as February of this year, CBRRA were shown the new revised plans that were to be approved the following day. The most cursory inspection of these plans revealed a raft of illegalities and the PD were left to go back to the developer with the bad news.
The solution was, of course, simple: Don’t show revised plans to the CBRRA next time. Just approve it. This they did.
Unfortunately, the illegality on the ground couldn’t be brushed aside so easily – so the situation now exists that the building that has been built does not conform with the approved plans. This in itself is illegal.
Even more unfortunately, Mr van Zyl has not seen fit to “act immediately” despite the numerous requests by CBRRA and neighbours to do so, over a considerable period of time.

CBRRA encourages your readers to inspect the sidewalk along Medburn Rd. The approved plans indicate a 2.1m retaining wall on the boundary, measured more or less from the adjacent kerb level, with the entire distance between this wall and the kerb being an almost level grassed walking area. The reality is that the City have allowed the developer to illegally expropriate City land to create an unstable earth bank that serves only to hide a 4.2m high retaining wall. The reason for this is that it hides an illegal “basement”, which in turn hides the true height of the apartments which is, in our opinion, illegal.
You will also note the 400mm wide sidewalk provided by the developer in lieu of the 1500mm required. It is impossible to even push a pram on this “sidewalk.”


Monday, 26 July 2010

Council Paints Road Lines in Camps Bay

This Article was place in the Atlantic Sun of 29 July 2010

From: Elizabeth Thompson
To: Michelle Talliard; Faried Allie; Duncan Daries; Taki Amira
Cc: Henry Du Plessis; Mike Marsden; Trevor Steyn; Richard Dames; Marga Haywood
Subject: RE: Road Painting Team and Robot Repair.

Dear Mr Dames,

Thank you so much for taking the time to convey your appreciation to the department and especially the team responsible for lines and signs. I also appreciate the time spent on taking some photos and sending them on as i am sure it will mean a lot to our team.

Please convey this message to the relevant depot and well done to your guys.

Kind Regards

Councillor Elizabeth Thompson

From: Richard Dames
To: Elizabeth Thompson; CBRRA ManCo

Good Afternoon Everyone

Attached please find photos representing the fruits of hard work. After much pleading and many email requests, we finally have our Zebra Crossings repainted and wonders of all, we're also having all our lines repainted. What wonderful news.

Added to that, the Traffic Department has also made sure that our Traffic lights are in 100% working order. Replacing the "VERY BADLY DAMAGED" grey cover with a NEW one. This damaged was caused by unscrupulous persons who feel it makes a excellent BANKIE!

So to prevent further damage in the future, the Traffic dept is also seriously deciding to fix "anti seating" fixtures to prevent further seating in the future. This was confirmed upon my discussing the matter with the repair team on site.

I also had the privilege of speaking to Splinters, the road painting supervisor, to thank him from us, for being there and finally coming out and repainting our lines.

I would like to thank the Council and show our appreciation and demonstrate that Camps Bay community recognise and sincerely appreciate Council's efforts in keeping our city and suburb well groomed.

Richard Dames
Cleansing and Environment and Heritage: CBRRA

The Crystal Development Appeal continues

From: Chris Willemse
Date: 26 July 2010
To: Piet van Zyl
Cc: Marian Nieuwoudt, Taki Amira, Jean-Pierre Smith, Cheryl Walters, Ossie Gonsalves, Marius Lourens, CBRRA ManCo; Gabriel Fagan, Gavin Van Schalkwyk
Subject: Re: The Crystal, Woodford Ave, Camps Bay

Dear Mr van Zyl

No further communicaion was received by the CBRRA as per your attached e-mail. Further, another week after that timeline has passed and there is no indication as to whether you will schedule the promised meeting. In the interim, a building that does not conform with approved plans has been signed off by your PD and occupancy certificates issued - and new owners are physically taking occupation. This does make a bit of a mockery of the statements attributed to you in the Atlantic Sun of 22 July 2010. Please advise if this meeting will be held, given that it is extremely urgent.


Chris Willemse
CBRRA Planning Chair

From: Piet van Zyl
To: Chris Willemse
Cc: Marian Nieuwoudt ; Taki Amira ; Jean-Pierre Smith ; Cheryl Walters ; Ossie Gonsalves ; Marius Lourens ; CBRRA ManCo; Gabriel Fagan ; Gavin Van Schalkwyk
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2010
Subject: RE: The Crystal, Woodford Ave, Camps Bay

Dear Mr Willemse

Receipt is acknowledged of your e-mail of 8 July 2010. I have been informed that Ald Marian Nieuwoudt will be out of the office on official business for the whole of next week. Your meeting request will therefore stand over until she is back in the office on 19 July 2010. A further communication will be sent out during the course of next week.


Piet van Zyl

Read the rest of the communication ‹‹here››

Friday, 23 July 2010

WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Awards

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of the blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the website.


The Sweet Service Award goes to the 1500 Capetonians who participated in the Madiba Unity Fan Walk on Sunday, in honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and to retain the unity amongst Capetonians developed during the World Cup. The Fan Walk was initiated and organised by Jacqui Biess and her daughters from Charly’s Bakery.

The Sour Service Award goes to the parking guards in the Cape Town city centre, who seem to have been appointed on their degree of rudeness and harassment towards city shoppers, rather than on their ability to efficiently collect the parking monies with charm! With their orange bibs and blue overalls they are highly visible, and have become a deterrent to many wishing to go into the city. Recently I parked near Marcellino’s Bakery, a 5 minute stop at most. As I came out of the bakery, the parking guard was already at my car, and refused to get out of the way when I tried to close my car door. I had to ask the CCID security guard, who was standing with him, to call the police, so that I could protect myself from him, as I did not know what he would do to me, in my own vehicle. Similarly, a guard in Barrack Street threatened to clamp the car wheel if I did not pay upfront - in Sea Point we pay afterwards. In both cases the communication came with extreme rudeness. The cost of parking is more than the cost of buying two bread rolls at Marcellino’s Bakery, hardly an incentive to go there now, except on a ’drive-through’ basis!
Chris von Ulmenstein

Sunday, 18 July 2010

CBRRA congratulates CBCommunity Groups

16 July 2010

Ian Merrington @ Camps Bay Watch
Members of the Camps Bay Watch
Peter Mead @ Camps Bay Police Forum
Lt. Col Ian Rudman @ SAPS
Bernard Schäfer @ Camps Bay Community Security Initiative

Re: CBRRA congratulates the Camps Bay community organizations for the arrest and sentencing of John Mthambo

The CBRRA extends its congratulations to the members of the Camps Bay Watch and the CBCSI, the Camps Bay Police Forum and SAPS for the incredible work done on the John Mthambo case.

It is gratifying that these organisations working together with the community ensure that criminals are tracked down, arrested and sentenced. You deserve full credit this and we would like to congratulate you for the tremendous work done on a daily basis in our community.

Yours truly,
Charles Wells
CBBRA (Chairperson)

The vuvuzela legacy lives on

Courtesy Design Indaba:

Soccer fans, tourists and Capetonians enjoyed the sight of Hyundai’s giant vuvuzela on Cape Town’s unfinished highway.

At 35 metres long and 55 metres in diameter this super horn has just made it into the Guinness World Records for the world’s largest vuvuzela.

The (in)famous unfinished highway has been home to the vuvuzela since 27 May 2010. In the build-up to the World Cup, a countdown-clock was installed just below the vuvuzela and marked down the time until the big day. During the World Cup it displayed the number of goals that had been scored during the tournament.

The vuvuzela with its familiar-sounding horn quickly became an iconic part of the Cape Town cityscape.

Albrecht Grundel, operations director of Hyundai SA said they were “thrilled to be in the Guinness World Records. This has been an exciting project and in ideal platform to contribute to the excitement and gees around the World Cup”.

Charly's for Madiba Cake magic

Courtesy Whaletales @

Cape Town has a super fun bakery that pulls out all the stops to make a special person’s birthday a special one, the creativity of Charly’s Bakery knowing no bounds. Strictly speaking, Charly’s Bakery should be called Jacqui’s Bakery, as it is Jacqui Biess who is the energetic and creative powerhouse running Charly’s Bakery with her three daughters Alex, Daniella and Roche.

In honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on Sunday, Jacqui has been infected by the spirit of unity and goodwill amongst South Africans resulting from the World Cup, and is calling on Capetonians to join her, her family, staff and friends in walking the Madiba Unity Fan Walk on Madiba’s special 92nd birthday. At the end of the Walk, Charly’s Bakery will share a special 4-tiered Golden Wicked chocolate birthday cake with the walkers, serving at least 300, and singing Happy Birthday to Mandela.

Says Jacqui: “Our Tata has shown us what it means to be free and to be able to live without fear of being who you are. He did it for 67 years, we can do it for 67 minutes”.

The planned route starts off at 12h00 on Sunday at St George’s Cathedral, moves along St George’s Mall, and links up with the bridge which crosses over Buitengracht Street, onto the Prestwich Memorial precinct at St Andrews Church (at Truth Coffees). The Fan Walk will link in with the Ubuntu Festival, which takes place this weekend. DJ’s and live musicians such as Hot Water, The Gugulethu Tenors, Coda, Sterling EQ, and Mthika will peform along the route. There will be a strong CCID presence in the city.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Voting for dogwalking still open!

A reminder to all Camps Bay residents that the dogwalking survey is still open for voting. If you have already voted, we would like to thank you. For those of you who haven't voted, please take the time to do so. Even if you do not have a dog, it is in the interest of the whole community that a well-balanced summary be structured from the votes. If you are not a member of CBRRA, we urge you to become a member in order to vote. Please follow the link for membership ‹‹here››. Final comments will be accepted until the 31st of July. Go to this ‹‹link›› to enter your vote!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Camps Bay Burglar Jailed

A man who burgled a Camps Bay house where American World Cup tourists were staying, and twice threatened to kill them, was on Thursday jailed for 15 years.

Unemployed John Mthambo, 31, appeared in the Cape Town World Cup Regional Court before Magistrate Deon Oosthuysen.

Oosthuysen said US tourist Steven Davis and his companions had returned to the house at about 5am on June 14, after a night out, and disturbed Mthambo. He was armed with a chisel and used it to threaten the occupants with death if they interfered with him. The occupants retreated, fearing for their safety, only to be threatened outside a second time.

Mthambo escaped with two laptops worth R25 000 and an electrical cord.

Oosthuysen said the incident happened when the country was doing everything possible to make World Cup tourists feel welcome.

As Oosthuysen passed sentence, Mthambo raised his hand to interrupt.

Oosthuysen responded: "You have already had your say, now it's my opportunity to have the final say."

He agreed with prosecutor Nadada Gamtolo that the court had a responsibility to the residents of Sea Point and Camps Bay.

Residents considered Mthambo a dangerous man who had to be removed from society for a long time. Mthambo was charged with housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, and aggravated armed robbery, but had cleverly pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of housebreaking with intent to steal, and theft to avoid the minimum 15-year sentence for armed robbery, Oosthuysen said.

"Unfortunately for you, the court convicted you for armed robbery," he added.

He said Mthambo had lied to defence attorney Nooraan Goudia about his coming to the Western Cape in search of work. His criminal record revealed two housebreakings in Sea Point and Camps Bay since his arrival. - Sapa

Sunday, 27 June 2010

How Well Do You Know Camps Bay?

Answer the questions below and then scroll to see how well you did. No cheating!!

Photo © Hillel Turok (authors) and Albert Louw of Citi Graphics (publisher)

Question 1
Where will you find Philly's plaque?

Question 2
What is the current name of Lady Smith's Pass?

Question 3
What was the original use for the building which is now Theatre on the Bay?

Question 4
Dr James Barry was a friend of Lord Charles Somerset and a frequent visitor to teh Round House. Legend has it that Dr Barry's ghost haunts the Round House. What was remarkable about the good doctor?

Question 5
Who built Victoria Road?

Question 6
In which year was Camps Bay incorporated into Cape Town?

Question 7
What was the fairy cart?

Question 8
In which year was the Rotunda built?

Question 9
One Camps Bay landmark originally had the name Stinkwater? What is the current name?

Question 10
An early Camps Bay water supply was built on Table Mountain. What is its name?

Now scroll right down...





...and check your answers:

Question 1
On the wall in front of the Library. Philly was a famous horse in Camps Bay.

Question 2
Kloof Road

Question 3
It was a power house for the trams.

Question 4
At death, HE was found to be a SHE who had lived her life masquerading as a man, despite having given birth to a child.

Question 5
Thomas Bain. He used convict labout. The road was named in honour of Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1888.

Question 6

Question 7
The night soil cart.

Question 8

Question 9

Question 10
Woodhead Reservoir

How did you do?
10 – Camps Bay Chronicler
9 – Expert

6-8 – An Informed Resident

5 and under – There's a great book in the library that you should read!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

WC2010: How SA dreamed the impossible dream

Organisers now face a tall order: to convince South Africans that playing host is as fun as playing to win.
Katlego Mphela of South Africa

South Africa's Katlego Mphela scores his side's second goal against France to raise hopes of an even greater adventure for Bafana Bafana – but it was not to be. Photograph: Dominic Barnardt/Getty Images

For a while they really did believe. When Katlego Mphela gave South Africa a 2-0 lead over 10-man France, then ran to fetch the ball with a sense of urgency, the entire nation held its breath and hoped.

"Unite in prayer, no matter your faith, creed or religion. The miracle is here," said one South African message on Twitter. Another tweet pleaded: "Come on Mexico, come on Bafana! Make dreams happen!!"

Much has been written about the miracle of the rainbow nation, the Nelson Mandela magic and the epic victory of the Springboks in the 1995 rugby World Cup. For a few precious minutes, with Uruguay also leading Mexico, South Africa was again dreaming an impossible dream.

It was not to be. France pulled a goal back and, as everyone dreaded, South Africa became the first hosts in 80 years of World Cup football not to make the second round. But unlike the French they went out not with a whimper, but a bang. The mood at fan parks was bittersweet, with muted cheers for the victory tempered by disappointment that the great adventure is over.

The instant reaction from Twitter was one of honour redeemed and heads held high. Frewbru said: "The dream's not over – we still have the world's attention and SA is the centre of the sports universe for another 3 big weeks!"

ThatLloyd tweeted: "Well done #BafanaBafana from your new & greatest fan I believed in you and I still believe in You *pat on the backs* guys you did us proud."

TarrynHarbour posted: "We WON. We STILL WON. Our 83rd-ranked team BEAT #FRA and DREW with #mex . See you in Brazil, world! LOVE YOU #BAFANA!!"

And one tweet said simply: "Mobileandy is proud to the point of tears."

But the immediate reaction of South African TV pundits was rather less effusive, noting the inconsistency of Bafana Bafana's performances throughout the tournament. Andre Arendse, a former South Africa goalkeeper, said the minimum target had been a place in the last 16, so this must go down as a failure: "What's happened is disappointing from a host-nation point of view."

But Arendse added: "We always said it's an African World Cup. We do encourage South Africans to keep supporting the World Cup now. I think they will, they're passionate about football. Adopt an African team."

It will not be easy. The first wave of Bafanamania that greeted the opening match was never going to last. There are fair-weather fans the world over, but South Africa's have a reputation as more fickle than most.

The stream of people heading for the stadium exit 10 minutes before the end of the defeat by Uruguay implied a low pain threshold. The momentum behind the national "Football Friday" also appears to have waned. For weeks more and more people had been wearing the yellow Bafana shirt to their offices. But last Friday many were back in plain shirts and winter coats.

Attendances at fan parks have also dropped since the huge and optimistic crowds that gathered on the first day. Today it was reported that vendors who spent big to be in fan parks are taking legal action in a bid to recoup heavy losses because business has been so slow.

On a more positive note, many cars in Johannesburg can be seen flying the flags of other African nations. Many South Africans will rally around their neighbours, of whom Ghana look the best bet. But if, as seems all too possible, all six African countries go out in the first round, they will have to look elsewhere.

A recent poll by the Times newspaper in South Africa found people in Johannesburg say they would switch allegiance to Portugal, Holland, Brazil, Argentina and England. In Cape Town, four had already defected to Spain, Argentina or Germany.

This World Cup has attracted many South Africans who normally don't go to football, and who may well be blowing vuvuzelas and soaking up the occasion rather than admiring tactical nuances. Like the British at Wimbledon going crazy for tennis for two weeks only, these football virgins might well pack up their vuvuzelas and go back to rugby.

That would leave the World Cup like a regular sports tournament, much as last year's Confederations Cup was after the hosts had been eliminated. It should run smoothly and efficiently but move from the front pages to the back, becoming less about Africa and more about Argentina, Brazil, Spain and the other usual suspects.

Fifa and the local organisers now face a tall order: to convince South Africans that playing host is as fun as playing to win. "We must be gracious and welcoming hosts," said The Times of South Africa. "At least, until the last camera crew, journalist, tourist and team leave South Africa. Let's make this a tournament of great African memories."

Article taken from