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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cape Argus: City of Cape Town ‘bulldozing’ through developments

City of Cape Town ‘bulldozing’ through developments
30 May 2016 at 18:23pm
By: Helen Bamford

Cape Town - Civic organisations from across the city are becoming increasingly concerned at the cosy relationship between the City of Cape Town and private developers, saying inappropriate developments were being bulldozed through with objections routinely ignored.
Most don’t have the resources for lengthy court battles, but some, like the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) Food and Farming Campaign, have approached the public protector to investigate alleged illegal practices, while others, like the Far South Peninsula Community Forum, are organising petitions to highlight their objections to over-development.
Patrick Dowling, who heads up the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association and the Far South Peninsula Community Forum, said a participatory democracy was meant to be one in which inputs from the people were taken seriously in the decision-making process.
“The experience of many civic bodies is that, instead, it is perfunctory with top-down executive outcomes the order of the day.”
Cape Town Greater Civic Alliance chairman Philip Bam said they were very concerned about the unbridled inappropriate development over Cape Town.
Bam said there were suspicions that certain developers were favoured.
The city’s proposed plans for Maiden’s Cove have also come under fire, with Chris Willemse, chairman of the Camps Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association, describing the sale of the nature reserve as “a breathtaking example of a land grab of scarce public open space for private development and private enrichment”.
In a report back at a public meeting last week, Willemse described the relationship between the city and developers as a “very sweet and mutually rewarding” one.
He warned it was also open to abuse. “And abused it is in Cape Town.”
Willemse said developers were now driving the process, with the ruling DA simply doing the industry’s bidding in return for massive party funding.
He added that many of the developments were not in the areas of most need and were mostly inappropriate.
Willemse said the Municipal Planning Tribunal, launched last year, which rules on planning applications in the city, was filled mostly with development-friendly members.
Johan van der Merwe, mayco member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, said the tribunal comprised some of the best independent professional planning consultants in Cape Town and experienced senior city officials, all of whom had been appointed after anopen, transparent and robust selection process. (exclusively by the Mayor and all DA/developer friendly …… my edit)
He said various other measures were put in place to ensure good governance with appropriate checks and balances.
Commenting on the city’s new Municipal Planning bylaw, which came into operation last July, Nazeer Sonday, who heads up the PHA Food and Farming Campaign, said the bylaw had virtually no public participation requirement.
Sonday said they were not against development. “But development for the sake of development does not support a productive economy.”
Dowling added that development proposals over the past several years had routinely been approved in the face of consistent and voluble objections from many residents’ associations around Cape Town who were seeking to “defend the urban edge, to urge caution aroundinfrastructure stress, to reject the aggravation of gridlocked traffic congestion and to protect valued heritage sites and key environmental assets”.
He said at a meeting the Far South Peninsula Community Forum had with mayor Patricia de Lille and officials in 2013, they were told it wasn’t possible to put a moratorium on development approvals until infrastructure issues had been sorted out.
Dowling said the thousands of signatures collected during their “Gatvol” petition campaign showed the public was not happy with the way this understanding and the commitment to “work with the community on these complex issues” had been implemented.
The petition, which was circulated on social media, calls for an end to “greedy over-development”, citing traffic congestion and lack of schools.
Professor Edda Weimann, a resident of Newlands Village, has also raised concern over unchecked development, saying the character of the suburb had changed in recent years.
She said the suburb, with its tiny streets, couldn’t cope with the “exploding traffic” and insufficient infrastructure.

Cape Argus

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

CBCRA Public Meeting agenda and message from the chair


Monday 23 MAY 2016 at 18h30 at THE ROTUNDA, BAY HOTEL

1               Welcome
2               Apologies
3               Chair’s introduction
4               Councillors’ report back
5               The City’s land-grab of Maidens Cove
6               Camps Bay Medics
7               Traffic
8               Name change for the Association
9               Planning
10            The Prep School & Bowling Club saga
11            Finances
12            Close

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.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Proposed Recreational Water Use By-law

CBRRA - Byron Herbert
May 17 (1 day ago)

to Matthew, CBRRA

Hi Mathew

As per usual the city have many new bylaws which they wish to rush through and pass almost simultaneously and as such one has to be skeptical of how sincere these are to the well being of the general public, or if there are ulterior agendas, which one would hope to not be the case.

Taking a cursory glance at the two water bylaws ie the one relating to use of water for households and the other being use of water bodies for recreational purposes, it appears that they are creating even more avenues to prosecute people and generate fines, rather than dealing with the real issues of policing current by-laws and managing the water resource properly. A recent study was done and it showed that the average time it took the city to repair a burst council main was Days, and more recently a burst main in Hout Bay took them more than a month to rectify even after the councilor tried to get involved, a problem that was resolved in a matter of minutes when the burst mains team eventually came out.

It has in fact been suggested the increase in the water tariff was not so much to reduce water consumption, but rather to ensure the city didn’t loose revenue due to lower consumption, a very plausible argument.

On the Recreational Water Use by-law, what I did find rather puzzling is that they appear to want to create there own rules pertaining to Safety Officers (generally known as Life Guards), and rather than using the National body of South African Surf Lifesaving with their extensive knowledge and expertise, the city have the notion that they can do there own thing. Last season, aside from everything else the city employed a fraction of the recommended number of lifeguards and put the beach users at grave danger and had it not been for the dedication and passion of the active surf lifesavers and volunteers the drownings would have read like traffic statistics, and then on top of this I have been told that the paid life gaurds where instructed by the City “ not to report all incidents as this would negatively impact on the blue flag beach safety record” A truly bizarre approach.

Needless to say there are so many regulations pertaining to so many different things all thrown into two documents, and as a result its not possible to fully understand the impact of each one, and any ramifications, which I fear is the intent.

Kind Regards
Byron Herbert
(Office) 021 438 3888
(Mobile) 083 625 0430


From: Matthew Hirsch []
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 10:30 AM
To: Byron Herbert
Subject: Fwd: MEDIA RELEASE: News highlights from the Subcouncil 16 meeting held on 16 May 2016

Hy Byron 

This is the Statement that was sent out. Here is the subcouncil agenda. It is item 6, thanks.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Media Account <>
Date: 16 May 2016 at 16:23
Subject: MEDIA RELEASE: News highlights from the Subcouncil 16 meeting held on 16 May 2016


16 MAY 2016


News highlights from the Subcouncil 16 meeting held on 16 May 2016

·         Extracts from the Chairperson’s Report
·         Proposed Recreational Water Use By-law
·         Refurbishment of the Lightfoot Memorial Fountain

Extracts from the Chairperson’s Report
Water is a scarce resource and it is therefore prudent that the City of Cape Town better monitor and control water use. In order to align and provide for the control and regulation of water services in the City, it’s necessary to amend the current Recreational Water Use By-law. The draft is being tabled today and is open for public comment.

Included in the Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department report is a list of programmes and events that have taken place in the past six months in the Good Hope Subcouncil. It reflects an impressive number and range of activities and events.

Not often recognised is the ancillary functions that the City performs for activities and events that take place in Cape Town. For example, the Disaster Risk Management Centre plays a vital role in minimising risks and responding to disasters. Similarly, the Fire and Rescue Service does much more than putting out fires. Fire and life safety education and awareness activities form an extensive part of the department’s actions. In the first three months of this year, the Hout Bay Fire Station dealt with 106 medical and trauma walk-in patients.

The Subcouncil also says goodbye to a familiar official who has been with the Subcouncil for many years. Paul Kadalie will be leaving the City of Cape Town at the end of May after 35 years of dedicated service. I will be handing a certificate to Paul while he attends his last subcouncil meeting.  

Proposed Recreational Water Use By-law
The Subcouncil noted the proposed Recreational Water Use By-law which seeks to regulate recreational water use activities, thereby making the use of city water bodies safer.

The City of Cape Town has a number of water bodies that support a variety of activities such as yachting, canoeing, power boating, fishing, kite- and wind-surfing and model boating.

Not only do several formal clubs utilise these facilities, but they also support extensive residential housing components. A number of these water bodies are ecologically sensitive environments and are situated in nature reserves.

It has become necessary to align the By-law with national regulations for inland bodies.

Chapter 2 of the By-law deals with vessel compliance and safety as well as restrictions and mooring of vessels. Chapter 3 deals with fishing, prohibited ways of catching fish, and exemption for scientific purposes.

The By-law follows a participatory approach, making provision for advisory forums consisting of representatives from interested parties to assist with the management of the facilities.

The new By-law, if approved by Council and promulgated by the Western Cape Government, will make water bodies safer for all to enjoy. The Subcouncil has the opportunity to comment on the new By-law.

The new draft By-law aligns with the National Regulations for Recreational Water Use under the Merchant Shipping Act and the National Small Vessels Safety Regulations, 2007.

Refurbishment of the Lightfoot Memorial Fountain
The Subcouncil noted the presentation on the refurbishment of the Lightfoot Memorial. The Subcouncil support the commitment to incorporate a review and upgrade of the broader environment as well as restoring the 109-year-old memorial. The location of the memorial is the site of where Archdeacon Lightfoot died.

Various City of Cape Town departments, in consultation with the ward councillor, Councillor Dave Bryant, will steer the process to involve all relevant role players.

An update on the proposals and final plan will be submitted to the Subcouncil.


Note to editors: a high-res version of the above photo of the certificate handover to Paul Kadalie is available on request to

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Alderman Demetri Qually, Acting Chairperson: Subcouncil 16, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 487 2001 or Cell: 071 855 9554, E-mail:

Matthew Hirsch
Atlantic Sun
Reporter/ Photographer 

Monday, 16 May 2016

CBCRA Public Meeting May 2016

Striving to keep the unique character of Camps Bay & Clifton intact


Our first semester PUBLIC MEETING will be held at
The Rotunda, The Bay Hotel
on Monday 23 May 2016


Particular issues deserve our communities' attention: 


The Glen Country Club, with its bowling greens and tennis courts, the current field leased by the CB High School and the parking area above Glen Beach - all which form a scenic reserve and protected environmental area - will soon be sold off to private developers by the de Lille administration. Once sold, the developer will undertake the various statutory processes for the rezoning and redevelopment of this public open space, into a new 750 bay parking garage (bigger than the Gardens Centre), commercial shopping centre, hotel, etc.

The public participation process, which was launched by the City in February 2015 and fast-tracked by the Mayor, was considered by most affected parties to be a farce and certain development proposals were not even shared with our communities. The end result will be that protected public open space and sports clubs will give way to the commercialization of this pristine Clifton jewel.    The Clifton development is fait accompli from the City's perspective and the Clifton and Camps Bay ratepayers will need to stand together and be proactive in the face of such political expedience, which will forever change this unique natural area completely and irreversibly.

We need to act quickly to oppose this land grab by the City and engage a professional team to assist the community in its efforts. The de Lille regime is eyeing all sport clubs in this area with the intention that they be replaced with commercial spaces. It is crucial that members join forces to discuss how to face this battle.

Email us on and sign up to get involved and support this cause. Please note that the CBRRA is registered as a NPO and all donations are tax deductible. Funds to oppose this initiative can be donated at:

First National Bank
Money Market Account
CBCRRA Fundraising
Branch code 201511
Acc No 62550213400

Also visit our blog for more information.



Planning matters and applications have increased tremendously as the property market becomes more buoyant. In the past few months, many applications have involved community input and resulted in settlement agreements between developers/owners and CBRRA/neighbours. Manco member (and The Green Point Biodiversity Park landscape architect) Johan van Papendorp, has assisted Village & Life in the upgrade of the "Stone Cottages" at the bottom of Geneva Drive to ensure that the upgrade of the buildings respects their heritage value. We continue to encourage all planning applicants - and more so all affected parties - to contact the CBRRA to ensure we keep the unique character of Camps Bay and Clifton intact. 


Due to funding pressure the Community Medics had to shift from Camps Bay Drive premises and are now occupying what is proving to be more comfortable (and less costly) space at The Retreat in Argyle Road. They continue to be the swiftest responders to any medical emergency in Camps Bay/Clifton and do not charge for any assistance, which these well-trained paramedics provide! However, they do rely on (tax deductible) contributions to survive. If you can add to the recent contributions, it will enable these medics to continue to make this fantastic service available to those who need it.  

Contributions may be made to:
Account Name: Community Medics Trust
Bank: Standard Bank
Account: 070095191
Branch Code: 020009
Atlantic Seaboard Reference: ASB+name+contact

Emergency:  +27 87 231 0121 
We suggest you load it onto your mobile phone for a quicker connection during an emergency.



CBCRA has been trying to broker a win-win shared/partitioned solution to join the school and club's needs. A lack of understanding of the bigger plan from both the school or the bowling club of what the City Council has in plan for the future of this leased land, will result in our community losing this land as the City Council’s rezoning scheme from Sports & Recreation may be a prelude to more development and cash in the City’s pockets. The community will then forever lose this green belt to more buildings. We need to make a difference while the current lease resides on this property. Eban Tucker, a Manco member, is underway to expand the current Sports Club to embrace many more sports and activities to serve a wider spectrum in our community. They are looking to form additional offerings such as jogging, walking, table tennis and cycling amongst the dance, karate, exercise classes and bridge, that are already active at the club. Email us at to get involved.



The maintenance of the Little Glen, so wonderfully restored by the late Arthur Shephard, is to be supervised by Judy Farah & Terry Chicken to ensure it does not degrade and also, to incorporate some of Arthur’s other visions for this great picnic/play/relaxation area. The considerable amount of money donated by friends & admirers of his will help fund the costs. We are pleased to report that the Council have been most cooperative regarding honouring his memory in an appropriate manner although there have been some objections (in contrast to ± 150 favourable responses) to adding his name to that of the Little Glen. Finalisation of this will happen soon.    



If you have not yet subscribed to the 2016 Membership, please consider doing so; R300.00 for 2016 or R500.00 for 2016 & 2017.

Electronic Transfer to:
Branch code 201709
Account number 62062797934
Reference: Surname, Street name.



We aim to foster a greater cohesion between residents and the City of Cape Town in Camps bay. Are there any other issues, which you feel need the attention of CBRRA? 


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Camps Bay schools celebrated 110 years of schooling

The Camps Bay schools – Camps Bay Preparatory, Camps Bay Primary and Camps Bay High – celebrated 110 years of schooling in the area last week. The Camps Bay Preparatory School was the first to open its doors in 1906. There were several events at all three schools last week to mark the milestone. This picture, taken using a drone last week, shows students from all three schools on the field at Camps Bay High School forming the number 110. 

Camps Bay schools celebrated 110 years of education in the community last week with a series of events, while the principals of the three schools – Camps Bay Preparatory, Camps Bay Primary and Camps Bay High – took time to reflect on the milestone.
While there have been many positive changes at Camps Bay High School: the new drama centre, the water polo pool, among them, principal David de Korte is most proud of the things that have stayed the same.
“If a pupil who was comes back to the school 20 years later will see that the ethos of the school is the same. That is something special. The schools have all maintained a very engaging and caring ethos,” he says, adding that the children are always pleased to see their teachers and friends in the morning and that’s something that warms his heart.
It’s this ethos, he says, that also set the school apart at a critical time in South Africa’s history.
“The high school in the early 1990s had a very progressive governing body. They were liberal and were pushing for the school to be open to all. In 1990, they allowed schools to open to all races, if the schools paid a penalty and took a financial cut from the Department of Education.”
The high school chose to open its doors to all races before the end of apartheid.
“That momentum,” he says, “has carried through to today, and it is a normal South African society and how a school should be. Diversity is everything. You can be a judo champion, scout or do modern dancing, and we will recognise that and give you an honours blazer… The message I’m always trying to send out is that we are still the same kind of school that cares for children and provides quality education.”
Stuart Collier, principal of the primary school, moved there from the high school. “They were really happy days. I always think it is a happy school, and the children just love coming to school. It’s a wonderful place to teach and it is very special. One of the mottos of the schools is ‘As one we grow,’ and this can be seen in the relationship between the schools.”
Mr Collier adds: “What is nice as well is that in the last few years the three schools have been working very closely together.”
He says lifelong friendships are formed among the pupils who go through their whole schooling career together.
“It is an exceptionally strong cultural school, and we have lots of talented children. We are very fortunate that there is a lot of diversity, and it is an example of a true South Africa. You don’t have to be a rugby player to be supported. It’s very rewarding to see past students coming back”
Linda Murray, principal of the Camps Bay Preparatory School, says it was the prep school that started it all, having opened its doors in 1906.
“We start the nurturing of the children there.
“A lot of our families call the school a home from home, and that’s what it is.”
She says there is a caring environment where they maintain the respect between the teachers and the pupils.
“We have amazing people out there who have come through our schools and achieved the most amazing things.”
Camps Bay High Old Boy David Perel, 30, spoke at a special assembly at the school telling pupils never to give up on their dreams. He recently signed a three-year contract to be a professional racing driver in Europe.
“It’s a huge honour to be here and I really enjoyed my time at Camps Bay High School,” he said, describing how he made the transition from sitting behind a desk in his early twenties to sitting behind the wheel of a racing car last year at the age of 29.
“I worked 20-hour days non-stop but I always wondered what it would be like to be racing driver instead of going to my desk at work…. I thought how much it would cost to do one GT race overseas?”
He started calling all the teams that he knew were racing. “All of them said no, and that I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it. I had a list of about 60 teams and it was team number 59 that invited me to come to a one off race in Italy.”
He performed well in the race and two weeks later, Lamborghini phone him and wanted him to race in the GT world championships in Malaysia, where he led the race until his brakes failed.
“I hit the wall at 200km/* . The team thought it was my fault, because when you looked at the data it showed I didn’t brake. Luckily, I had a GoPro in the car, and I was pumping that brake as hard as I could.”
He thought his dream of becoming a professional driver, after spending his life savings, was over until the team watched footage from the GoPro a few months later.
“In February last year, I got a call from the same team to race for the year… The whole way through, deciding to do things myself made me a better racing driver. More committed and more determined than my competitors,” he said.
He has now signed a three-year racing deal with Ferrari and will now race a level below Formula One at the highest level.
“When I was 29, sitting on my couch I just wanted to do one race. If you realise that you are in control of what you can achieve, it sets you apart. Other people won’t have the same drive as you. You never know where you may find yourself,” he said.

- by Matthew Hirsch

The City of Cape Town’s new environmental policy, which is set to be adopted by full council, has been labelled as a smokescreen by the Camps Bay Ratepayers’ Association.
The item was on the agenda at Sub-council 16 on April 18 and is set to be discussed at various ward committees before going to full council.
Johan van der Merwe, the City’s Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, said the new environmental strategy is in line with the National Strategy on Sustainable Development, which understands that the economy and society is dependent upon the natural environment, rather than seeing the economy, society, and the environment as competing needs to be balanced against each other.
“This is an important perspective shift as it recognises that the city is dependent on its natural environment to provide vital goods and services,” said Mr Van der Merwe.
But Chris Willemse, chairperson of the Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, pointed to the controversial Maiden’s Cove development. The plan to sell off or lease a portion of City-owned land, which included some of Maiden’s Cove, was first announced last year. In March, the City invited tenders to three portions of land in Clifton despite multiple objections from civic organisations and residents across the city.
“Until (the City) administration ceases to steal public open land for private development, any policy is just a smokescreen for a political party to enrich its sponsors and itself – as we have seen with the Maiden’s Cove development and the selling off of the Philippi Horticultural Area.”
Luke Stevens, vice chairperson of the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said protecting the natural environment was important in a time of increasing densification.
“Constant growth creates constantly increasing pressure on space, energy and management resources. We need education, invention and incentive to generate and apply innovations that resolve these constraints. Environmental policy needs to remain at the top of the agenda right across local government,” said Mr Stevens.
Mr Van der Merwe said the new strategy takes a principle-based approach rather than a sector-based approach.
Principles in the City’s new environmental policy include:
* Realising economic and social benefits;
* Preventing, minimising, and mitigating environmental impacts;
* Working towards resource efficiency;
* Promoting and implementing environmentally sensitive and low-impact urban design;
* Ensuring that residents are educated and empowered, and
* Ensuring the protection of natural and cultural heritage.
He said that the policy was important for the City. “The natural environment is an irreplaceable asset that provides a myriad ecosystem, goods and services, and a host of associated economic and social benefits, to the residents of Cape Town. Most importantly, Cape Town’s natural environment is a common asset belonging to all residents of Cape Town, which must remain accessible and deliver benefits to all – both current and future generations.
“In order to ensure that this asset is sustainable and effectively protected and managed, it is necessary to have an up-to-date and comprehensive environmental strategy and associated policies, plans, and other tools in place.”
City Bowl ward councillor, Dave Bryant, who was at the sub-council meeting when the policy was discussed, said Cape Town was unique with a nature reserve located in the middle of the city. “The natural environment is one of our key drivers of tourism and must be protected and maintained for future generations to come,” he said.
“The Cape Town City Bowl is surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and it is essential to ensure that our environment is properly managed and protected.
“We must, however, recognise the growing pressures facing us with increasing urban populations and therefore it is important that we have the tools to balance the complex demands of the modern city.”