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Thursday, 27 December 2018

CBCRA Public Meeting Minutes 19 Nov 2018

HELD AT The Rotunda, The Bay Hotel, Camps Bay,  19 November 2018 @ 18:45


The Chair welcomed everyone. He thanked Maree Brink and the Bay Hotel who are always most generous with their hospitality – and special thanks here to Rotunda’s Events co-ordinator, Lloyd Brown and his team, for all of the arrangements.
Thanks to Mary Lloyd and Ann Caras for looking after the membership table.
The Chair extended a special welcome to our guest speaker, Theresa Massaglia of Tesoro Training and Transformation. Theresa will be addressing us on her work with street children.
Also welcome to our local ward councillor, Shayne Ramsay. She will give a report- back tonight after which you will have an an opportunity to address her on issues that are of concern to you, the ratepayers of Camps Bay.

Welcome also to the security cluster represented by Bernard Schafer and to Paul Jacobson of the Atlantic Seaboard Action Group.


2.1. Apologies: Sue Luck, Mark Shapiro, Shirley Kantor, Manfred Boyer-Telmer, Members of Fine Asset Investment (Fiskaal Rd).
2.2. Minutes for AGM held 7 August 2017 were posted on the blog.  These were proposed by Byron Herbert and seconded by Alma Horn.  No one objected.  Minutes were approved.


Tonight we need to discuss the problems of the beachfront. Most will be aware of the huge increase in anti-social behaviour, the influx of car guards and beggars and the general mayhem and aggression that is currently taking place on the beachfront.

This is a very complex problem that has its roots in poverty, socio-economics, crime, exploitation and simple economics. There is no silver bullet for this. We need to work as a community to deal with the situation.
At all times, we need to remember that most often, at the heart of the problem, is human suffering.
And I am happy to report that there is a synergy between the security, business and ratepayer groupings in tackling this very serious problem. There is also no doubt that, if left unchecked, the situation on the beachfront will lead to a serious incident of assault or murder.

But what to do?

The security cluster, under the CPF is investigating and initiating many options, which includes the routine clearing of waste material out of the bushes along Victoria Rd. However, they are better placed to inform the community of their activities through their channels and meetings.
The same applies to the Business Forum, who have hired private security to patrol the area in front of the restaurants and shops along the Victoria Rd.

Another initiative that the security cluster is running is the formation of an SRA, which will ensure more direct control over the running of the suburb in terms of so-called “crime and grime”.

The CBCRA is fully backing this initiative, as it was mandated to by a public meeting held here some time back.

I possibly need to pause here. The CBCRA receives many letters of complaint from residents who demand better service from the City and State, based on the extremely high rates and taxes that we pay. Now, however rational that might sound, it has no basis in reality. Our reality is that we will be milked for income by the City and State, but there will be a disproportionately low return on our investment. That could be blamed on a multitude of factors, some valid others fictional – but the bottom line is that there will be insufficient police, law enforcement, social workers etc in Camps Bay to properly manage the needs of the community.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that this Association or any other grouping simply sits back and accepts this state of affairs. We are all lobbying, hassling and even threatening the authorities for more resources.

But we need to be realistic and pro-active and find our own solutions to the problems that face us. This must also be done within the legal confines available to us.

Let us deal with the social aspect of the homeless first:

So, please let me introduce you to Theresa Massaglia, who will explain her involvement with street children on our beachfront.

Below is a copy of the Powerpoint presentation from Theresa Massaglia.






Now to continue with the beachfront:

Besides the other contributing factors, the CBCRA believes that a major contributor to the problem is one of simple economics. There is too much money to be made on the strip from begging and car guarding. It was reported at our last meeting that some of the young kids who are begging on the street are carrying thousands of rand in their pockets. This could also be drug related income, of course.
Whatever, such orders of income bring in all sorts of problems, which are mainly crime related. Btw, car guarding is illegal – but I mean more serious crime.

Again, what to do?

If we separate the income from the car guards and aggressive beggars, then a large part of the problem will, in all likelihood, disappear. Many of the so-called street people are only here to make money. Absent the money and most will find other pastures to ply their “trades”.
The legal mechanism for this is to install paid for curbside parking. Not only is the parking situation then controlled, the parking company will, of necessity, bring in another level of security to protect their business. This has to be to the benefit of the community.
Of course, there will always be resistance to paid parking – but we see no alternative to this option. Paid parking will always be preferable to the body of a member of this community or a tourist lying bleeding in the street. And this is a likely scenario, sadly.
To this end, we have engaged with City officials and, if we can obtain the agreement of the City Manager, this initial phase can be rolled out as early as 01 Jan 2019 for the Victoria Rd.
The City are currently completing a policy document which will better define its street parking policy and regulations. This will include for how to deal with residents’ parking in areas that are subject to paid parking.
If the proposed paid parking for the beachfront goes ahead, it will be by means of an extended contract to one of the companies which deal with Sea Point or the CBD. Once the new regulations are in place, a new contract will be advertised.
We have no detail on time-frames here.

The CBCRA really encourages you to support this initiative, in order that we can regain control of the beachfront and ensure the safety of the community, its visitors and tourists alike.
This will also allow the social workers to deal with the genuine cases of homelessness that so urgently need their attention.

This was put to a vote by show of hands.  There were a few against the paid for kerbside parking with the vast majority supporting it.  Many also wanted the side streets included in the paid parking.  The CBCRA accordingly received a mandate to pursue this with the City.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
So much has changed in the last year, I think the easiest thing is to start with today and work back in time in terms of my report back.  So this morning at our subcouncil meeting we had to discuss and decide on the application to hold the Secrets of Summer event at Maiden’s Cove over the year end from 27 December – 1 January.
After sending the application out for comment to all interested and affected parties, I received a resounding NO from all groups for a variety of reasons, primarily related to the closure of the public place for a private function, the noise, the drugs, the traffic and the general state of mess the place is left in afterwards.  This lead us to decline the application.
Related to this, the plans for the Maiden’s Cove development were taken to court by Maiden’s Cove For All and the City decided not to take this on review. Thereafter the winning bidder also withdrew. So no development will be taking place here after all.
Closer to where we are now, you may have seen that new LED lighting is currently being installed along the Camps Bay beachfront which is targeted on the pathway.  This will surely reduce opportunistic crime in the area and thereby increase the safety of walking along here at night.
Still on the beachfront, I have allocated my entire capital budget of R150,000 from my ward allocation to the upgrading of the beachfront, repaving pathways and renovating the toilet facilities to spruce up the area for all the residents, and overseas visitors.
At the last council meeting, we ratified the decision by the Naming Committee to honour Arthur Shepherd’s efforts in upgrading and maintaining the Little Glen by erecting a sign board at the entrance acknowledging his efforts, however the park will remain known as the Little Glen in recognition of all the other unsung heroes also involved in its rejuvenation.
With reference to the Parks Dept. they have been slowly but surely working their way through the ward mowing all the verges and public open spaces and clearing overgrown areas wherever necessary.  This is obviously a never ending task, even after a drought!  So kudos to them!
I receive a huge number of complaints about the number of aggressive car guards along the strip.  We tried the idea of “Free Parking” signs which are currently affixed to the light poles but that does not seem to have dissuaded car guards from fleecing unsuspecting tourists.  So instead we are now looking at introducing paid parking along the strip, if not also some of the side streets.  Typically, where there are professional parking attendants, there is no opportunity for car guards.  Just so you know, if this is approved then it is likely to be priced in the same bracket as Sea Point which is currently at R4.40 for fifteen minutes or part thereof, or R17.60 an hour.
Other complaints include the number of street children and homeless people who flock to the area to earn handsome tips from the many visitors.  They then establish homes on the beaches and in the surrounding parks and green areas.  Joint operations are regularly held between Law Enforcement, SAPS, Sanitation and the Dept. of Social Services (DSD) to deal with this issue.  Structures are removed and DSD assists those who need help with ID’s, EPWP jobs or transportation to their homes of origin.  In an effort to educate the public, DSD have also been very active in handing out Give Responsibly pamphlets to businesses and pedestrians along the strip.
While children can be removed from the street by the Social Workers, being homeless is not a crime and unless someone is engaged in criminal activity, they cannot simply be removed from an area.  The City’s new Safe Space at Culemborg has proved very successful so far.  It takes in 230 homeless people giving them a safe place to sleep, toilets and washing facilities as well as their own locker for their personal possessions.  There are medical facilities and social workers to assist in designing a personal development plan.
Some of you may have attended my impromptu meeting at the Camps Bay High School to discuss crowd control on the beaches after masses of beach goers descended on Clifton 4th and Camps Bay beaches on the exceptionally warm weekend of 30/31 October.  The biggest problem which fueled so much of the disorderly behaviour was as a result of alcohol being sold or brought on to the beaches.  The directorate of Safety & Security took note of this and developed a plan to deal with this.  You will have since seen increasing numbers of Law Enforcement officers patrolling the beaches and consequently much improved visitor behaviour.
On the subject of lawlessness, in my two years as Councillor, I have realized that one of our biggest problems is the dire shortage of policing in our communities.  We simply need MORE bobbies on the beat.  We are woefully understaffed in terms of Traffic Cops, Law Enforcement officers, Metro Police and SAPS.  So it seems to me there are two immediate solutions. One, I can lobby my caucus to increase JP Smith’s Safety and Security budget as far as is reasonably possible and two that you as a community look to developing a CID to augment our limited security.  And maybe we can collectively impress upon our President the need for more police officers, everywhere.
I would like to acknowledge all the City workers who quietly get on with collecting our garbage, fixing the sewers and water leaks and dealing with billing disputes.  A big shout out to them; life without their efforts would surely be miserable.
Since this is probably the last public meeting of the year, I would like to sincerely thank all of those who have shown appreciation for my efforts this year, since Councillors mostly receive complaints!  But either way may I wish you all a wonderful festive season particularly if you will be spending your holidays here in our Fairest Cape!
I thank you!
5.         Chair’s report

The suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton remain under threat from the City of Cape Town, as discussed at our last meeting but there is some positive news:

5.1       Maidens Cove Development

The first is the Maidens Cove development. As you will recall, this prime piece of relatively unspoilt and protected public open space, which also has huge socio-historical value, was sold off to a private developer for just over R1bn at the end of last year.
This despite the fact that there was complete opposition to this development by Capetonians from Camps Bay to Mitchells Plain and from Scarborough to Belhar.

However, the Clifton Bungalow Owners Association and a grouping called the Maidens Cove for All, led by retired constitutional judge Albie Sachs, his wife, Vanessa September and project manager Janey Ball, lodged an application with the Western Cape High Court to have this decision reviewed and set aside.

The matter was set down for last Friday (16 November) but both the City and developer abandoned its opposition to the application a few weeks back. On last Friday, Mr Justice Saldanha postponed the now unopposed matter by referring it back to the Judge President. The judge claimed that the matter needed thorough reading, which he had not done. Seems a bit weird to me!

It is unlikely that the DA-led City will simply abandon this project because it promises great riches to all involved, especially the developers and politicians!
We will all remain vigilant and also express our sincere thanks to the CBOA and MCA for their brave stand against exploitation by the ruling cabal.

5.2       Over-development / Planning

The second threat is that of over-development: The test case that we mentioned at our last meeting was the development at 96 Camps Bay Drive.

As you will recall, the City is summarily removing the single dwelling restrictions in our title deed documents to allow for multiple dwelling developments, under the guise of GR2 zoning.

In the 96 CBD matter, where the City had ignored all our arguments and approved a 4-unit block of flats on a single dwelling erf, the CBCRA filed an application with the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside the MPT decision, de Lille’s rejection of our appeal and the ultimate plans approval by the City.
In this matter, the CBCRA was represented by Adv Deon Irish SC, Adv Dale Lubbe and attorney Leon van Rensburg - a very formidable legal team.

The matter was set down for hearing on the 28th May 2018.

The City indicated that it would not oppose the matter but, nevertheless, was represented by senior counsel in court. I mean, why wouldn’t you do that? The expensive SC is paid for by the ratepayers of Cape Town, so its no cost to the DA-led City, which, ironically, never has the money to pay for law enforcement and other greatly needed resources.

In any event, the presiding judge, Mr Justice Siraj Desai, who is also the Acting Deputy Chief Justice of the WC High Court (so a very senior judge), simply refused to hear the case on the basis that the City Planners’ conduct was so remiss in its dealing with the application, that he had no choice but find in favour of the CBCRA and co-applicant, Lana Stacey.
He also ordered the developer to pay its own costs and the City to pay all other costs, including ours. The City’s response was even weirder: Brett Herron, then Mayco member for planning, simply acknowledged the judgement and added that they knew that there was a minor technical difficulty with its case.
That was some understatement; a minor technicality! When a vastly experienced high court judge throws the City’s case out and refuses to hear any legal argument, then you know that the City’s planners and legal advisors are incompetent and probably worse. Thankfully, Herron has resigned pending serious charges against him, along with his mentor, the destructive Patricia de Lille – but the rest are still there. And this is not an isolated case.

This court victory was an unprecedented vindication of the CBCRA’s stance – but sadly didn’t take the matter of removal of restrictions forward. Thousands of pages of strong legal argument weren’t heard in open court and decided upon by a judge. So we sit, again, with petty officials and supposedly independent planners deciding our future.
However, this case is not over. The developer will not negotiate any deal with the community, other than to keep to its original plan, so we will be back in court soon, no doubt. At least we have a very strong case in readiness. It would also appear that the applications for another 6 units on CBD, 5 units in The Meadway and 6 units in Quebec Rd are being held over until some finality is reached in this matter.

As I mentioned at our last meeting, the City stealthily tries to over-densify Camps Bay in flagrant disregard of the property rights of the homeowners – and with no increase in infrastructure such as sewerage, electricity and roads! This is simply disgraceful.

Byron will give you a brief update on the MOP, which is the third threat to our community. The fact that the City is happy to dump millions of litres of raw effluent into Marine Protected Bay area is unconscionable.  Besides the immediate health hazard, there are very sinister long-term affects that will haunt future generations.

6.       Byron Herbert - MOP on Camps Bay beach

Byron gave a brief update on the MOP.
The City wants to declare certain areas “dead zones / exclusion zones”.
There are 4 professors doing a proper study on Camps Bay and they finding holes in the CSIR report.

7.       Election of Office Bearers

All those members currently serving on your Manco have agreed to remain for the following year.
The Chair expressed his personal gratitude to all these hard-working and selfless individuals who freely give of their time to protect the uniqueness of our beautiful village and suburb. I’m sure that all present here tonight will join me in thanking the Manco.

As always, new members are welcome and there is a great variety of tasks to tackle. The Chair asked for any  nominations from the floor?  None were forthcoming.

Manco is made up of the following members:
Chris Willemse (Chair) - Ward Committee and Planning
Richard Bendel (Vice Chair) - Membership and Finance 
Brenda Herbert - Planning and CPF
Johan van Papendorp – Planning & Environmental
Alma Horn - Membership and PR
Helet Merkling - Clifton
Byron Herbert - Beach, Coastline & Events
Michael Smorenberg – PR
Chris Krafft
Bianca Krafft

Richard Bendel presented the signed audited Annual Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2017.  The following main points were discussed:
                  8.1       The association had cash (its only asset) of R110 547.
8.2       The liabilities were R99 400 of which the provision for legal fees still relating to the Harrison matter of R90 000 was the most significant.  The balance of R9 400 was for prepaid subscriptions.
8.3        The accumulated reserves were R11 147.
8.4       On the trading side, the subscriptions received was R57 865 which was significantly down from the previous years amount of R85 708.  Some of the members pay for 2 years.
8.6       On the expense side, the only major expense related to legal fees for the 96 Camps Bay Drive matter amounting to R67 050.  This has continued into the 2018 financial year.
8.7        The profit for the current year was R20 910.

Richard Bendel also discussed the 2018 financial position to date which was showing a rather grim cash position as a result of the continued legal fees for the 96 Camps Bay Drive matter.  As previously mentioned, this matter the CBCRA had to take on in order to protect the property rights of the ratepayers.  We accordingly urge as many people to join the CBCRA and pay their membership fee of R300 for 1 year or R500 for 2 years.