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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Talent garden

    Anton Luiting and Duane Alexander at the launch of LAMTA.

When Camps Bay’s Theatre on the Bay reopens, it will not only be showcasing talent, but also helping to develop it.
The theatre closed on Saturday April 21, for renovations which are expected to continue for four months (“Brief curtain close”, Atlantic Sun, April 19).
Among the changes at the venue will be the inclusion of the Luiting Alexander Musical Theatre Academy (LAMTA) which was launched at the beginning of April and will be based at Theatre on the Bay.
Musical theatre industry luminaries Duane Alexander and Anton Luiting launched the academy with the support and endorsement of theatre impresario and owner of Theatre on the Bay, Pieter Toerien.
The academy aims to train performers to master what they call the “triple threat” – the ability to sing, dance and act.
Mr Luiting and Mr Alexander are passionate about this and in 2010, established the Musical Theatre Workshop to provide a triple-threat training to children from as young as five years old.
“We have had the privilege and pleasure of working on a number of International ‘blockbuster’ musicals in the past 17 years and so we’ve experienced first-hand what the requirement is to be a part of today’s musical theatre industry. We hope to impart what we’ve learnt from the incredible directors, choreographers, musical directors, designers and technicians to a new generation of performers,” said Mr Luiting.
LAMTA graduates will leave the academy with training led by the cream of the crop in their respective fields, as well as skills in arts administration and theatre technology that will enable them to be not only performers, but “art-entrepreneurs” who can manage successful careers and work in a number of theatre and arts-related fields.
“Being a ‘triple-threat’ performer is not just important, it is essential. Equal ability in all three major theatrical disciplines is first prize as it increases one’s employment opportunities, but even having one exceptional strength and above-average skill in the other two disciplines makes one a viable commodity and highly employable,” said Mr Alexander.
Mr Luiting and Mr Alexander have already put together what they describe as an “A-Team” of lecturers but there will also be guest lecturers who will share their expertise.
Nationwide auditions for entry into LAMTA will take place in June. Only 24 students (12 men and 12 women) will be accepted for the 2019 intake.
“Having had the privilege of travelling the world on many big international productions, we’ve come to the realisation that Cape Town is without a doubt one of the most exciting and remarkable cities in the world. We are so grateful to Mr Toerien for his support and endorsement and we are honoured to be continuing his legacy and contribution to the South African industry,” said Mr Luiting.

Application for the removal of title deed restrictions ito s82 & s83 15 the Meadway

The District Manager, Table Bay District
Development Management, Transport & Urban Development Authority
City of Cape Town
Cape Town
ATTN   Ms Juliet Leslie
Dear Ms Leslie


CASE ID         70371487
ERF                   207

The CBRRA strongly objects to this application.

Insofar as the basic, generalized merits of the application are concerned, please note the following:

The CBRRA has met with the affected neighbours and their opposition to the proposed building was strongly registered. It is therefore clear that this application fails the test for being in the interests of the community, in terms of applicable law.

Specifically, this application is opposed on the following grounds:

·       The proposed structure, with its many contraventions of the Title Deed, is clearly inappropriate to the area and is merely an attempt to over-bulk the site to the exclusive benefit of the applicant.
·       The application, if successful, will result in a loss of privacy, views and the amenities of living in a generally single dwelling neighbour for the surrounding property owners, which is unconstitutional.
·       The City of Cape Town’s Densification Policy encourages erven in areas such as this to be extended from single to double dwellings – there is certainly no mention of increasing the density from one to five units. Further, the Policy requires concomitant increase in infrastructural services to accommodate such densification. It is common cause that both the overloaded road system and inadequate sewerage system will not be upgraded by the City. The application is therefore non-compliant with policy.

·       The deletion and amendment of so many title deed conditions (9 in total) raises constitutional issues. It is well known that the City considers that the enactment of new laws such as SPLUMA, LUPA and the MPBL give it tremendous powers over the real rights conferred on property owners through the restrictive title deed conditions in the various Deeds of Transfer applicable to the township. It is the legal advice of the CBCRA that this is simply wrong in law and that the City is expropriating real, constitutional rights of citizens without proper due process or, importantly, compensation. This is in clear conflict with s25 of the Constitution of South Africa. It is trite to contend that a benefit to one owner (the applicant) will result in a similar benefit to an affected party who enjoys rights which this application proposes to nullify. It is clear that the benefit to that one party (the applicant) invariably, as in this case, is prejudicial to the rights of affected parties in the township. The CBCRA reserves its rights to lead legal argument in this regard at the appropriate forum.

·       Further, the restrictive title deed conditions applicable to the subject Erf were registered in favour of the owners of property in this township and, as such, may not be summarily removed without the express permission of those affected parties. The various divisions of the High Court of South Africa have exclusively - and repeatedly – ruled that title deed restrictions, applicable to any property in a township, are praedial servitudinal rights and may not be amended or expunged by mere executive action if, inter alia, a positive benefit to that community is not shown. In this case, no positive benefit to the area has been established by the applicant.

·       In general, the number of contraventions of applicable law for which this proposal is applying is evidence enough of an inappropriate development, which is only in the short-term financial interests of the applicant – and totally prejudicial to the rights of the adjoining property owners and the area in general. This proposal is one to destroy the rightful amenities of the owners of property in Camps Bay in favour of the financial benefit of a developer, amongst other negative issues.

The Western Cape High Court ruled, in the Camps Bay Ratepayers vs. RBC Sub Eleven matter, that the Minister may not remove or amend restrictive title deed conditions if it is not in the interests of the community (Griesel, AJ, as he was then). The learned judge went further and ruled that the test must also be a positive one – in other words, the applicant must show a positive benefit for the community when submitting such an application. Other divisions of the High Court have handed down similar rulings. The applicant has failed to show any benefit, of any kind, to the community and this is clearly a case where such removal is actually only in the narrow financial interests of the developer, which, the Court ruled, could not sustain an application such as this.
The case law so established devolves upon the MPT in terms of legal precedent, as this is not simply a planning law issue but a constitutional property issue, as more fully described above.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (in the True Motives vs. Mahdi case # 543/07) has also added that such a proposal must be considered ito s7 of the National Building Regulations and Standards Act, when the application does not conform to all applicable law. S7 reads as follows:

7 Approval by Local Authorities in Respect of Erection of Buildings
(1) If a local authority, having considered a recommendation referred to in section 6(1)(a)-
(a) is satisfied that the application in question complies with the requirements of this Act and any other applicable law, it shall grant its approval in respect thereof; [Para. (a) substituted by s. 4 (a) of Act 62 of 1989.]
(b)       (i) is not so satisfied; or
(ii) is satisfied that the building to which the application in question relates-

(aa) is to be erected in such manner or will be of such nature or appearance that-
(aaa) the area in which it is to be erected will probably or in fact be disfigured thereby;
(bbb) it will probably or in fact be unsightly or objectionable;
(ccc) it will probably or in fact derogate from the value of adjoining or neighbouring properties;

(bb) will probably or in fact be dangerous to life or property, such local authority shall refuse to grant its approval in respect thereof and give written reasons for such refusal:

It is noted that the City has consistently held that the provisions of s7 are not in question at this stage of an application – and that once granted, the departures actually trump the provisions of s7 in the first instance! The CBCRA has always contended that this “smoke and mirrors” approach by the City is legally challengeable and, in effect, a disingenuous approach of favouring development at all costs.
Recently, in case 6561/2015 out of the Western Cape High Court, the Honourable Mr Justice Binns-Ward ruled that the local authority must consider s7(1)(b)(ii) even if it has been found that the planning application complies with all applicable law. The CBRRA contends that this regulation will render the application fatally flawed, if properly assessed.

In this specific instance, the unjustifiable increase in the number of units, loss of amenities and resultant traffic increase, which, in fact, does not comply with applicable law, will derogate from the value of the affected neighbours’ property and the public amenity of protected views and privacy and, accordingly, must be denied. Professional opinion as to such derogation of value will be presented to the MPT if required.

The CBRRA requests an interview at the MPT committee meeting, which will be convened to decide this application.  


Homeless on agenda

Ward councillor Shayne Ramsay says homeless people, drawn to the Atlantic Seaboard by the many tourists there and the high possibility of hand-outs could be earning as much as R5 000 a day.
Ms Ramsay, whose ward includes Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay, Robben Island, Signal Hill, Camps Bay, Bakoven, Clifton, Three Anchor Bay (south of the Main Road, Camberwell Road, Mutley Road and Glengariff Road) and Oudekraal, told a public meeting of the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association meeting she had been given this information by Camps Bay police.
Atlantic Sun, however, was unable to confirm this as Camps Bay’s station commander was not available when we called him to verify this figure.
In an effort to address homelessness on the Seaboard, Ms Ramsay said, “The Department of Social Development in conjunction with SAPS and Law Enforcement hold regular joint operations where illegal structures built on the beaches and surrounding areas are removed.”
Ms Ramsay has previously found herself in hot water over comments made about homeless people.
At the end of 2016, she found herself at the centre of a social media storm after she posted comments about homeless people in Sea Point, to which many took offence (“In hot water for homeless rant”, Atlantic Sun, December 1, 2016).
She was subsequently fined R10 000 after pleading guilty at a disciplinary committee.
Sea Point for All member Isa Jacobson, who is also a Ward 54 committee member, said she was frustrated at what she described as the City’s inability to help organisations get anything off the ground in Sea Point.
Ms Jacobson cited Souper Troopers as an example, saying that the organisation had approached the City for help with its Winter Warmth campaign, but had been turned down. When Atlantic Sun contacted Souper Troopers about this, they preferred not to comment.
Souper Troopers started by Sea Point resident Kerry Hoffman, feeds and works with people living on the streets (“Best recipe for soup is compassion”, Atlantic Sun, October 5, 2017).
Ms Jacobson said Sea Point for All wanted to help the homeless but they were struggling to find space. She said they asked to use the space on the Promenade next to the Sea Point pool, but they were told that the City’s department of social development was currently preparing the site under the Culemborg bridge as a safe space for street people which would be piloted before the roll-out of any other safe spaces.
When Atlantic Sun’s sister paper, the CapeTowner reported on this in March, the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, JP Smith, said the safe space would be operational from this month.
When Mr Smith spoke to Atlantic Sun more recently, he said while the City was not mandated to build or fund shelters, it was however piloting a temporary safe space in the CBD which will open during June.
Asked whether this was the Culemborg site, Mr Smith confirmed that it was.
Ms Jacobson said she believes that a portion of Ward 54’s allocation of R850 000 should go toward assisting disadvantaged people in the area. “But the City works in such an inscrutable, convoluted and bureaucratic way, it seems to kick out all but a very narrow definition of suitability for these funds. Why don’t they support organisations already active in the space and doing good?” she asked.
Mr Smith, said the City’s Street People Policy was very clear in terms of this administration’s responsibility towards street people, spelling out what they deliver on, including compiling a database of street people, facilitating access to shelters and working with shelters to expand their bed space; identity documents and social grants; access to temporary work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) relocation to their places of origin or reunification with family.
Mr Smith said the City’s Street People Reintegration Unit engaged with individuals on a daily basis but very few people accepted the offers of assistance.
“The City runs a number of programmes in communities most at risk to prevent more people from migrating to the streets. These programmes are focused on addressing issues in the home, truancy and substance abuse and to provide support to street people who are reintegrated into their communities to prevent them from returning to their former life,” said Mr Smith.
He added that the City had a “Give Responsibly” campaign, through which it encouraged residents, businesses, faith-based organisations and tourists to donate to shelters and organisations that assist street people instead of giving direct hand-outs that can perpetuate the problem of street people not accepting the social services available to them.
The City has also activated its annual Winter Readiness programme that makes available aid to qualifying shelters to help them cope with the increased number of people seeking shelter during this time of year.
A total of 276 bed spaces have been made available, along with aid to the value of R950 000, the City said.
by Sinazo Mkoko

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Development is threatening our area

The Maidens cove development topped the agenda at the CBCRAs public meeting on May 7.
The Maiden’s Cove development was among the key issues under discussion at the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CBCRRA) public meeting at the Rotunda Hotel in Camps Bay last week.
Delivering his report at the meeting on Monday May 7, CBCRRA chairman Chris Willemse, said the Maiden’s Cove development was putting Camps Bay and Clifton under a serious threat.
Mr Willemse that the prime piece of public open space had been sold off to a private developer by the City of Cape Town despite opposition to the development by residents.
“By law, the City had to provide public participation meetings on the proposed development.
This it did, but having attended all the meetings, it was clear that the City was ticking the boxes again and not actually paying any attention to the opinions and sentiments of the people of Cape Town, said Mr Willemse.
Mr Willemse explained that some residents had suggested that the space be turned into a park similar to the Green Point Urban Park, but that their requests had fallen on deaf ears.
“Landscape architect for Green Point Urban Park, Johan van Papendorp, offered to assist in the matter but the City was not interested claiming there’s no money,” said Mr Willemse.
Mr Willemse told those present that the Clifton Bungalow Owners’ Association had lodged an application with the Western Cape High Court to have this decision reviewed and set aside. When he asked the floor to mandate whether they should support the association, 90% of those in the room voted in favour of the decision.
When residents were given the opportunity to comment, one shouted: “The City doesn’t consider the residents and approves everything developers want.
“If the City wants to fight, we will fight. Developers are running the City.”
Atlantic Sun asked the City and the Clifton Bungalow Owners’ Association for their input, but by the time this edition went to print, neither had responded.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Beach of waste

    PICTURE: Jean Tresfon
The toxicity of the Camps Bay Beach to marine life was once again brought to attention at the Camps Bay Clifton Ratepayer’s Association (CBCRA) public meeting on May 7.
CBCRA member, Byron Herbert, did a presentation on the threat to the marine life. The ratepayer body raised concerns over what they claim to be millions of litres of raw effluent dumped into the marine protected bay area.
Among the concerns raised at the meeting were health hazards and alarming long-term effects that residents fear will haunt future generations.
Mr Herbert explained that the City of Cape Town commissioned the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to do its own study following a video that went viral online titled The Bay of Sewage in 2016. The CSIR study found that the outfall posed no significant risk to human health.
However, Mr Herbert explained that a report by University of the Western Cape’s Professor Leslie Petrik, University of Cape Town’s Professor Lesley Green and a senior lecturer and epidemiologist at Stellenbosch University challenged the CSRI report which, the City, according to Mr Herbert, dismissed.
The report by the academics argued that the CSIR report was being negligent and misleading in not making distinction between acute and chronic health risks. The academics further said the CSRI report was not acknowledging that their list of harmful compounds were not up to date and the toxicity tests were not related to human health.
Mr Herbert said that Glen Beach was also polluted and signage is needed to let people know when it happens again.
One resident asked what the solution was to the problem. “The City has been giving us the runaround on this and threatened us with litigation if we didn’t remove The Bay Of Sewage from YouTube. Among their claimsis that we had used computer generated imagery (CGI) to create false images, but fortunately CBCRA is not scared of the City,” said Mr Herbert.
City of Cape Town media manager, Luthando Tyhalibongo, said although they have been discharging wastewater in this way since the first modern civilisation settled and permanently established human habitation in the area, the receiving marine environment has not as yet been deleteriously impacted and to date, no significant ecological impacts are evident. “In our opinion Professor Petrik is correct to highlight the accumulation of new synthetic chemicals as an area that requires further research and that the long-term effects of various chemicals on marine ecology and human health are not yet understood,” said Mr Tyhalibongo.
Mr Tyhalibongo went on to say that the City acknowledges that the production of new chemicals poses challenges in the context of wastewater disposal, that the practice of wastewater disposal will never be without an ecological and human health risk and cannot proceed in perpetuity, and hence that a zero discharge policy is the ideal to strive for, but at this time it is not realistically possible. He went on to say that the the practice of discharging wastewater into the sea will continue into the foreseeable future.
“The City has developed an extensive monitoring programme with the assistance of four external expert marine scientists in an effort to supplement further research efforts,” said Mr Tyhalibongo.
On The Bay of Sewage YouTube video, the City said they have identified instances in the video where data was used incorrectly, and took issue with not being offered right of reply. This they said was raised via appropriate legal channels.

Monday, 7 May 2018

AGM 2018-05-07 Chair's Report

A special welcome to our guest speaker tonight, Jaco Boshoff of the Iziko Museum. Also welcome to our local ward councillor, Shayne Ramsay. She will give a short address tonight but maybe it should be more of an opportunity for you to address her on issues that are of concern to you, the ratepayers of Camps Bay.

Tonight we give you a report back on the various matters that are being dealt with by your Association and also hear Jaco Boshoff’s fascinating research into the slave ship shipwreck off Clifton, many years ago.

So, please let me introduce you to Jaco Boshoff, who will enlighten you with an interesting piece of history, that still has social consequences, that occurred on our own beach.

Shayne Ramsey – councillor’s report

Byron Herbert     - MOP on Camps Bay beach

Chair’s report

The suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton are seriously under threat by the City of Cape Town on 3 fronts at the moment:

The first is the Maidens Cove development. This prime piece of relatively unspoilt public open space, which also has huge socio-historical value, was sold off to a private developer for just over R1b 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.

By law, the City had to provide public participation meetings on the proposed development. This it did, but having attended all the meetings, it was clear that the City was ticking the boxes again and not actually paying any attention to the opinions and sentiments of the people of Cape Town. Sadly, the civics of Cape Town – including the CBCRA – are used to this. When it comes to serving its friends in the development industry, the DA-led City has no interest in the ratepayers of Cape Town. And you will hear this from far and wide: For instance, the group attempting to stop de Lille and her cabal from expropriating the Philippi Horticultural Area for housing, will tell of a 10-year battle for sanity vs greed.
This area produces over 55% of Cape Town’s fresh supply of vegetables. The Cape Flats Aquifer, which lies under this area and is an incredibly important water resource, will also be negatively affected by development. The Bo-Kaap has major problems with the City planners, as does the Deep South areas like Kommetjie and Noordhoek.

However, there is good news. The Clifton Bungalow Owners Association has lodged an application with the Western Cape High Court to have this decision reviewed and set aside.
That Association has submitted a voluminous application and has raised many strong points, especially the environmental issue that this is a proclaimed scenic reserve, protected by law.
I think that it is imperative that we support the CBOA in this matter but obviously we need to be suitably funded to do so.
I would like this meeting to mandate the CBCRA to pursue the matter of the Maidens Cove development with a view to stopping it.

Byron has already given you the background on the MOP, which is the second 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.

Not only that, but the City stealthily tries to over-densify Camps Bay at the same – with no increase in infrastructure such as sewerage, electricity and roads! This is simply disgraceful.

And this brings us to the third threat: The development at 96 Camps Bay Drive.

This has been raised at our previous meeting but a bit of history to bring all up to speed:
This erf is zoned GR2, as are many erven in Camps Bay, which allows for multiple dwellings and taller buildings. However, the title deed restrictions do not allow for this type of development.
Up until now, the many court cases to establish and maintain the praedial servitutal nature of these restrictions, that have been fought and won by this Association in particular, and many others in general have kept the lid on this type of over-densification.
Then in 2015, planning legislation changed in the country with the the enactment of SPLUMA, at national level, LUPA at provincial level and the MPB at local level.
At the same time, the Removal of Restrictions Act was repealed and planning decisions at local level devolved upon something called a municipal planning tribunal. This is effectively, a tribunal of private planning professional appointed by the executive mayor and paid for by the City.

It didn’t take long before the City and its planners, and those in private practice, started exploiting the situation by entertaining applications that removed all relevant title deed restrictions from the deeds thus allowing single dwellings to be converted into multiple units.
The argument from the City and the MPT is that all case law protecting property rights fell away with the new laws and they had total discretionary powers in deciding such matters.
However, the CBCRA strongly disagreed and was closely tracking the first case of this kind, the one at 96 Camps Bay Drive.

Basically, the MPT rejected all the objections from the CBCRA and surrounding neighbours and approved the development. We appealed that decision to Mayor de Lille and, unsurprisingly, this appeal was refused. You have to understand that planning decisions by this administration are very predictable and always in favour of developers at any cost. But it is important – and a legal requirement – that an aggrieved party exhausts all administrative options before taking a matter before a court of law. So we, too, tick boxes.

The CBCRA filed an application with the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside the MPT decision and de Lille’s rejection of our appeal.
In this matter, the CBCRA is represented by Adv Deon Irish SC, Adv Dale Lubbe and our attorney is Leon van Rensburg. This is a very formidable legal team.

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

So far, the City, after initially strongly opposing the application, have folded and agreed to abide by the decision of the court. The developer, now basically up the creek with the City’s withdrawal, is trying to settle but not pay costs.
The CBCRA is not interested in anything but a High Court ruling which sets out clearly how such matters must be dealt with and whether the City has the right to remove or amend our constitutional property rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
If you look at the Zoning map on the screen, you will quickly realize that if we don’t win this case, then Camps Bay is doomed. Given the number of GR2 erven, Camps Bay could densify by at least 5 or 6 times in the next few years.
The developers are licking their lips and the City cannot wait for all the rates to come in! And from the City’s point of view, the current services can easily manage this – so no expense for it. Maybe we should take the Mayor (if she still is) and the senior DA politicians for a walk in Hove Road when it experiences its regular sewerage overflow – or maybe the Little Glen when the raw sewerage flows down the embankments into the Blinkwater River.

In any event, all the court documents are on the CBCRA website for those who wish to read through about 2000 pages of legal argument!
We will also update the site regarding progress in this matter.

As a final note on this court case, the MPT is not making any decisions on title deed restrictions until the case is settled. This after the CBCRA pointed out to it that it would be unethical, if not irregular, to make decisions that it knew to be compromised.


I would just like to alert you to a few issues that will be of interest:
Firstly, all applications that are received by this Association will be advertised (or posted) on the BlogSpot, added to that, all letters of objection or support by the CBCRA will also be posted.
So, visit the site regularly and keep up to date with what is being planned for Camps Bay. If you know of an application that isn’t posted on the blog, please advise us immediately – as we are meant to receive all Camps Bay, Clifton and Bakoven planning applications from the City.

There are many applications so one needs to be watchful.

We had a very concerning occurrence a few months back: Contractors erected a large Telkom cellphone mast on the property of the service station in Rontree Ave.
It was done unannounced and without any planning permission, based on Telkom’s contention that, as a SOE, they didn’t require permission.

The neighbours were outraged and lead by the immediate neighbour – and with the support of the CBCRA – a case was brought against Telkom. All went quiet for a while and then, as quickly as it went up, it was taken down.
This is clearly a great victory for the community but also underlines the constant threat that communitys’ face on a daily basis. Not to mention the costs involved in standing up for your rights against organs of state and local authorities that are shameless in spending our tax money on their fantasies.