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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