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Thursday, 1 July 2021

Camps Bay High creates Garden of Hope

A visual of The Camps Bay High garden. The school is appealing for funds for the project.

Camps Bay High School’s new food garden was designed and is being developed by former pupil Ben Getz of Urban Harvest.

The idea is that current pupils, with the help of staff and community members, will work the garden, which will produce a bounty of fruit and vegetables that can either be given to those in need or sold, with the proceeds going to help keep the garden going and help the Camps Bay community.

Last Tuesday, the first tree at the Garden of Hope was planted, and it was dedicated to Isabella Lubczonok, a Camps Bay High School pupil who recently passed away.

“The school would like to use the Garden of Hope as an opportunity for alumni to remember those ‘Gone too soon’. There are many opportunities within the garden for past pupils to remember their classmates and provide a living legacy for future generations,“ said Cara Kahn, Head of the Camps Bay High School Alumni Association.

“We need R200 000 to make this garden a reality so we are appealing to those in our community and past pupils to help us get our garden planted. Donations start at R100. Once you have clicked on the donation link, you will be able to recommend past pupils you would like to honour in the garden.”

To support the fundraiser, set up by James Bosenberg, general manager of Quicket South Africa and a past pupil of Camps Bay High School, go to

Article © of the Atlantic Sun

Camps Bay High puts an end to period poverty

From left are Nishaat Williams and Michael Gulston from Camps Bay High School’s RCL with the sanitary products.

Camps Bay High School’s Representative Council of Learners (RCL) has put an end to period poverty at the school, at least for the next year.

The project started with members of the RCL buying sanitary pads and tampons and placing them in all the girls’ toilets on a trial basis to measure usage and to see whether the privilege would be abused or not.

“Earlier this year, the newly elected Camps Bay High School RCL decided to try an experiment in the female and gender neutral bathrooms at school. The team placed baskets with free sanitary products available to all those in need. This was incredibly well received by the learners at our school and based on this, they launched an internal funding drive with parents and guardians of learners at the school so that the project could be sustained in the long term,” said Camps Bay High School’s Educator-in-Charge of RCL, Michelle Janse van Rensburg,

“I’ve always questioned why sanitary products are not supplied free-of-charge in all female and gender neutral bathrooms at school. Menstruation is not a choice and period poverty within our school community is definitely a reality. Camps Bay High School is a truly diverse school with learners coming from a variety of backgrounds. Sometimes learners may also come to school unprepared. Having sanitary products available for free in the bathrooms avoids all sorts of embarrassment and judgement,” said Michael Gulston, Grade 12 member of the RCL.

Ms Janse van Rensburg said the RCL raised over R17 000 in a month to buy the products in bulk and ensure there is never a shortage.

The school has also invested in sanitary product dispensers, which are now on the walls of the toilets.

“We would like to thank all the parents and guardians who contributed to this project to ensure that we can end period poverty, at least at Camps Bay High School.”

Michael hopes their action will inspire other schools to start their own initiatives and challenged other RCLs to make an effort to end period poverty in their schools.

Article and Photo © Atlantic Sun

Hope keeps beaches, parks and streets clean

Shahied Joseph 

Atlantic Sun

HOPE is a project that keeps Sea Point beaches and streets clean and safe while offering homeless people valuable work experience as Community Care Ambassadors (CCA).

Community Care Ambassadors cleaning up a Sea Point park.

The Homelessness Outreach Prevention and Education (HOPE) programme was started in the midst of the lockdown by the Sea Point Fresnaye Bantry Bay (SFB) ratepayers’ association (“Project Hope makes positive waves on the Atlantic Seaboard”, Atlantic Sun, May 13).

They realised that dealing with the issues encountered by the homeless was a task that needed to be approached constructively, so they enlisted the help of Kevin Alexander, 60, to lead the charge as their field co-ordinator.

“When I had the meeting with the SFB, I had three objectives – to reunite the homeless people with families, reintegrate them into the community and refer them to shelters or safe spaces.

“We have about eight people that have rejoined their families and the community care ambassadors, except for two, are at shelters. So we have made progress in the past few months and at the moment we have 16 ambassadors,” he said.

The ambassadors wear clearly marked PPE.

The CCA operates in teams of two across eight beaches from Three Anchor Bay to Saunders Rock, keeping them clean while alternating tasks on the promenade and the streets.

“They are happy to do this, picking up litter; sweeping and they double up as security too. They are quite territorial and proud of what they do. The SFB pays for their shelter fees and give them a monthly stipend. We even started a soccer team and play at Green Point park, we also do life skills projects with them so it’s not just about cleaning the beaches,” said Mr Alexander, a former Haven night shelter manager.

Hope field co-ordinator Kevin Alexander meets with the CCA’s.

The ambassadors, one of whom is deaf and the other a 43-year-old woman, meet once a week to discuss obstacles with Mr Alexander, who claims that there are issues but nothing they can’t handle.

“I started last month and I’m happy with the job. I’m improving all the time and I improved since I joined, so I’m happy,” said Belinda Booi who is responsible for Three Anchor Bay beach.

Belinda Booi and a fellow ambassador at work on the streets of Sea Point.

Cornelius Lewis, the first ambassador of Hope when it began in September, says he appreciates the CCA’s responsibilities as he is experienced in this field.

“I’m responsible for Rocklands beach. I’ve been cleaning beaches for six years already and it’s nice for me, I enjoy working with my hands and seeing that the beach is clean,” the 69-year-old said.

Mr Lewis roped in 36-year-old Raphael Felix who loves working on the beach, specifically at Graaff’s pool.

“I enjoy doing this, it’s part of my life,” said Mr Felix.

“I am doing this for four years now without payment. People see what I do and they say thank you, here’s some money, but I don’t ask them for money. I enjoy what I do and I’m happy that Hope is assisting us, it’s a great thing.”

Mr Alexander believes that the ambassadors are changing for the better. “This project is a stepping stone for them. We want them to learn, to become self supporting, independent and to restore their dignity and the change is manifesting, the residents can see it and it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Kevin Alexander, the field co-ordinator for the Hope project.

Sculpting with sand, sea and sun

Atlantic Sun

Methuserah Mukenga adding detail to the whale sculpture.

Methuserah Mukenga sculpting a penguin.

Carefully adding detail to the dolphin.

The sand sculptor with his tools.

Methuserah Mukenga relies on tips from those that appreciate his craft.

Giving a personal touch to the couple admiring his work.

For Methuserah Mukenga, Camps Bay beach is a canvas where he can create sculptures of sea creatures and other animals out of sand and sea water.

It’s an art that requires good weather, so when the Cape winter rains approach, Mr Mukenga is out of work. However, he doesn’t give up hope, even though winter has arrived irregularly this season.

“When there is no sun I do struggle, so I prefer the summer and I’m here whenever the sun shines. I’ve been doing this at Camps Bay since December 2018,” he said.

“The Camps Bay community appreciate this and they have allowed me to continue doing this. They can see what I’m doing adds value and they show their appreciation and it makes me feel good. They even supported me when law enforcement tried to stop me from working,” Mr Mukenga said.

Mukenga studied visual arts at the Nairobi Technical College in 1998 but did not complete the course; however, he picked up enough know-how to sculpt with sand, clay and concrete.

“I first saw this (sand sculpting) in Mombasa and I did some sculpting there. Then years later I saw it in Durban and it was done with so much more detail. I was really impressed and decided to do it here when I moved to Cape Town.”

Since arriving in South Africa in 2000, the 41-year-old has worked as a packer at a food factory and as a taxi driver, but always missed working with his hands.

“I was doing okay but I was not happy and decided to do this because it is something that is in my heart and in my mind. So I left the job I had and came here, to sculpt. Fortunately I met Innocent and he mentored me, he inspired me and showed me how to work better with the sand.”

The Rwandan citizen enjoys watching National Geographic and most of his sculpting revolves around animals. Armed with a plastic spoon and makeshift tools, Mr Mukenga is meticulous when moulding the fin of a dolphin or using a makeshift sprinkler to add depth to a whale’s body, lightly amending mistakes with his hands as he brings the creatures to life.

“Sometimes I get requests from people, especially kids, they want baboons and octopus and sharks. They ask me to show them how to do it. But I can do anything, I enjoy it, and they enjoy watching me do it. They see I start with heaps of sand and then it slowly becomes a whale or a penguin and they are always surprised with what they see.”

Mr Mukenga says he always creates a spacious heart as people love having their names inscribed on it.

“People that are in love, that are newly married, tourists and especially Joburg people, they like putting their names on the heart and taking pictures,” he quipped.

“It’s artistic, I can easily identify the animals so the likeness is on point,” said 28-year old businessman Jowen Greeff.

“I hope someone sees this and gives him a chance to study so that he can exhibit his art elsewhere, he definitely has talent,” he said.

“It’s exceptional, you don’t see such art anywhere, so it’s unique and I appreciate his skill,” 25-year old Valencia Sass remarked.

Giving a personal touch to the couple admiring his work.

CTICC converted to vaccination centre

Picture: David Ritchie

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) will be the first of at least three large vaccination facilities in the city to provide residents with increased vaccine access.

The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government have worked together on the mass vaccination site.

The City was to lead final preparations, with the goal of finishing the project by the end of June. The Western Cape Government will be in charge of site management.

Once vaccinations are delivered, the CTICC can operate at full capacity.

“Just over one year ago our teams worked quickly and efficiently to convert the CTICC into the Western Cape’s first major field hospital, our hospital of hope, and it became a place of healing for the thousands of residents who received life-saving treatment there. I’m excited to once again be working at full speed to open this world-class conferencing venue to residents across the City of Cape Town, enabling a radical increase in life-saving vaccinations. It is our intention for it to be a Centre of Hope in our City and Province within a few weeks,” said Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

Mr Winde said at its peak, the centre would be able to vaccinate approximately 4 000 people every day, thanks to its 50 vaccination stations, each of which can deliver 100 vaccinations each day.

Mayor Dan Plato said: “There are currently detailed plans in place for the opening of several more mass sites in the Metro. The City is excited to partner with the provincial government on these projects where we can so that we ensure that residents have better access to vaccines”.

According to the provincial government, as at 1pm on Monday June 14, the Western Cape had 8 037 active Covid-19 infections, with a total number of 302 232 Covid-19 cases to date and 282 234 recoveries.

Mr Winde said we have entered a third wave of Covid-19 infections and there is an increase in infections across the province.

“I call on residents to practice the lifesaving behaviours that we have learnt over the past year to stop the spread of Covid-19. These include washing and sanitising your hands regularly and wearing your mask correctly. This means replacing or washing your mask after each use and ensuring that it covers both your mouth and nose at all times. You must also ensure that you maintain a safe distance. Please avoid all non-essential gatherings. However, if you must meet, please ensure that you keep it short, small and outside – with good ventilation. It is also crucial that you avoid the 3Cs of confined places, crowded spaces and close contact. By adhering to these important steps, we can flatten the curve and save lives.”

Seniors can register for a vaccine by:

Visiting or;

Dialing *134*832# and follow the prompts (FREE on all South African Networks); or

WhatsApping the word REGISTER to 0600 123456.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

City accused of changing parking requirements without public participation

Sinazo Mkoko

Atlantic Sun

The City of Cape Town has been accused of changing parking requirements for some areas on the Atlantic Seaboard without any public participation.

Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (SFB) claim the City has approved parking requirements without consulting the public.

According to the Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (SFB), in October last year, they were provided with a demolition application for a residential home in Oldfield Road, next to the park in a Heritage Overlay Zone.

They said, as part of part of the assessment, the committee investigated the planned development for this property and was informed that the developer planned to erect a building with 22 “studios” on the 588sqm plot with a provision of eight parking bays.

They said, in the past, for every apartment at least one parking bay would have been required and, therefore, a departure would have been requested which was not the case here. Hence the committee enquired about the reason.

“To all our surprise, it emerged that council had changed the parking requirements for Green Point and large part of Sea Point and as a result, no parking spaces and, therefore, no departures will be required in future for any developments below Ocean View Drive. This was all done without any public participation.”

They said these revised parking requirements paved the way for a new developer’s product – the “studio” or “micro apartment“.

“Under the auspices of ‘affordable housing’ tiny one-room apartments are sold at sqm prices of R 50 000 and more.

“Who will buy and stay in these 17 to 28 sqm apartments for a price of more than R 1 million or monthly cost in excess of R 10 000? Certainly not local residents. In our view this new product line is aimed at investors that can manage such small scale investments and are intrigued by prospected high short term rentals (e.g. AirBnB). It is a nonsensical hypothesis that such tenants will not rent cars that need to be parked and will only use public transport,” they said.

“What will be the effects on our neighbourhood and the existing hospitality infrastructure in Sea Point? Would anyone want to live for an extended period of time in a building where holidaymakers party and change on a daily basis in summer, whereas in winter the place is deserted?”

They said meetings have been held recently with those responsible and they await the outcomes with interest.

“In our view, such a significant decision should have required public participation. Furthermore, it is of great concern that developers had knowledge of these changes well in advance and have been able to plan and apply for building permits based on these changes while ratepayers and residents organisations were completely unaware of these issues.”

The SFB said it is of the impression that the primary objective of the change in parking requirements is the City’s drive for “densification“ and, at its core, the increase of its rates ”income”.

“In many areas, the disproportionate ratio of rates collected to rates spent has reached proportions that can only be called a ‘rich tax’.”

In June 2014, the City announced that they approved the maps demarcating the reduced parking requirements for development in priority areas which are served by public transport.

This, they said was the next step in the City’s efforts to promote development close to public transport at a higher density.

Responding to this, the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the introduction of the concept of PT1&2 parking standards into the Development Management Scheme (DMS) and its predecessor, namely the City of Cape Town Zoning Scheme (CTZS) since 2013, was to give effect to the City’s strategies to support an effective, efficient and viable public transport system.

She said the PT1&2 provisions still provide a minimum parking requirement.

“A property owner or developer is therefore only required to provide the minimum standard but may still provide more parking.

“These provisions are an incentive to support the use of public transport and are not enforced as a maximum standard.”

She added in the most recent update of the PT1&2 map, the provision of road-based public transport was assessed.

“The Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay areas are particularly well-served by the MyCiTi feeder service, as well as Golden Arrow buses and minibus taxis. In fact, the MyCiTi feeder service along this route is the highest functioning feeder service in the city,” she said.

“I advise the residents to please submit comments and suggestions for the review of the Development Management Scheme that is currently under way. The closing date for comments is April 23. This is an ideal opportunity for residents to influence the future of the built environment in their areas.”

To comment on this, visit:

Comments and suggestions to be taken into account in the review process can be submitted to

Thursday, 1 April 2021

New principal for Camps Bay High

Sinazo Mkoko
Atlantic Sun

Louis Mostert will take over as the school's principal from next month.

From May 1, Camps Bay High School will officially have a new principal.

Louis Mostert is due to take up his role as the school’s principal from next month.

Mr Mostert has been acting principal since the start of this year, taking over the reins from Dave de Korte who retired at the end of December 2020.

Camps Bay High School’s governing body chairperson, Werner Thetard, said they are delighted that the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) accepted their nomination as there can be no one better suited for the position. “Mr Mostert understands how important it is for us to create a nurturing environment where learners have the opportunity to safely explore their limits, ensuring that they strive for the highest in all their endeavours,” he said.

Mr Mostert said he started his teaching career at Camps Bay High School some 33 years ago and he has been a proud member of the Camps Bay school community for all those years. “ For over 10 years, I was the school’s deputy principal and head of academics and mathematics and I am looking forward to taking up the role as principal, and taking forward the school’s vision ‘Strength in Diversity’ to ensure there is always an environment of tolerance and respect on the Camps Bay High School campus,” he said.

The selection committee involved in the principal’s appointment, conducted a rigorous selection process, which involved many hours of work sifting through the applications and ensuring that the required WCED protocols were adhered to.

Mr Thetard said the new principal’s commitment to the school cannot be rivalled. “His energy and passion for forward-thinking educational practices will make sure that our learners are given the best opportunities in academics, sport, culture and service so that they leave Camps Bay High School as well-rounded young adults ready for real world challenges.

“Our school needs a leader who connects with parents, learners and staff, and someone who is a problem-solver. Mr Mostert ticks all of these boxes and his priorities align well with the direction of our school,”he said.

He added that they look forward to working with Mr Mostert who will officially lead the management of the school from May 1.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

The River Club, environmental protection and respect for first nation heritage


The developers of the River Club are planning to build a huge mixed use development on the land at the confluence of the Black and Liesbeek Rivers, land that is of immense historical and spiritual significance for the indigenous Khoi peoples, as well as being a sensitive environmental precinct including a threatened wetland and biodiversity hotspot. The land was once public land owned by the South African Railways but earmarked for white employees as a leisure resort, ignoring the profound sacred importance of the river confluence for Khoi history. The site was part of the first resistance wars by the Khoi against colonial intrusion, and the site of the first appropriation of land by the Dutch settlers. As such, it is rich in heritage, particularly the intangible heritage associated with the Open Riverine valley and the sense of place afforded by the open space to which it is zoned.

In short, the current owners of the River Club in 2015, LLP Pty ltd, purchased the bare dominium from PRASA in 2015 in a speculative deal, then sold the land on at a substantial profit to a new entity called the LLPT. The LLPT then began work toward on a development application on the site which is a hugely inappropriate and dense Mixed-Use commercial development with Amazon as anchor tennant. The development will generate billions of rands profit for an influential and highly connected consortium of financiers and property developers. The land lies on a flood plain and will require hugely intrusive engineering works to elevate the development out of the flood line. It will place 18 buildings on a 14 ha site, ranging from 20 to 46 m high, and a total floor space of 150 000 square meters. This is an incredibly dense and huge development which will sit at the apex of the Two Rivers Urban Park, a designated conservation area, which is also slated for inclusion in the National Heritage Liberation Trail and a possible UNESCO nomination. The adjacent South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is already a National Heritage Site and more than 60 First Nation Groups, NGOs and Civic Associations have applied for the areas to be graded as a Provincial Heritage Site and the Goringhaicona First Nations Council have similarly applied for the site to be graded a National Heritage resource. 

Despite the huge environmental and heritage importance of the site, financial considerations appear to have driven the acceptance by the authorities of the development in the form of two flawed decisions, one by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning of the Western Cape Government (DEADP) in August 2020 to grant an environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), and one by the Municipal Planning Tribunal of the City of Cape Town to permit rezoning of the land from Open Space to Mixed Use in September 2020. 

The DEADP appeal authority, the MEC, has since rejected appeals against the EA in a February 2021 decision which attempts to ‘cure’ fundamental flaws in the original EA decision-making process. 

For example, when Heritage Western Cape, the competent Heritage Authority for the province, declared the River Club site provisionally protected under the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA), as a precaution against development decisions being made prior to heritage grading of the site, the City of Cape Town and the DEADP joined the developers in appealing the protection order, on the basis that the existing processes under NEMA would protect heritage resources involved. Yet, when HWC rejected the Heritage Impact Assessment of the development as failing to meet the requirements of NHRA, the DEADP simply ignored their comments and gave approval, a decision HWC described in their appeal of the EA as ‘unlawful.’ It is this decision which Minister Bredell now seems to have ‘cured’ by his tortuous correspondence with HWC in December 2020 and January 2021, which he has now relied on to reject the appeals.

Similarly, the DEADP and the MPT decisions ignore repeated warnings by the City’s own Environmental Management Department that the proposed development violated multiple environmental policies, including those on Climate Change, and should not be supported.

The City recently (Feb 2021) convened a Planning Appeals Advisory Panel (PAAP) to hear the rezoning appeals. The timing of the Minister’s rejection of the EA appeal was such that it was released the day before the PAAP which enabled the developers to trumpet this at the Panel as part of their opposition to the appeals. The collusion between the City and Province is pushing this development through against scientific, professional and community opposition is clear.

Thus, while there is widespread opposition from Civil Society, there is also a considerable body of opposition from professional and scientific agencies against the development. Yet, as Crispin Olver described in this book “A House Divided” about the City of Cape Town, the democratic process of local government decisions making are unduly influenced by powerful developers who are able to capture decisions to suit their own interests. 

This campaign is therefore also a matter of democracy and of community voice in municipal decision making.

The community response: 

The Observatory Civic Association has been an active partner and one of the founding members of Civic Action for Public Participation (CAPP), a Civic driven initiative to an active civic movement under the banner of reclaiming civic space for the public good. A principle of this initiative is the need for community voice to have effective mechanisms to influence decisions and to hold public officials and elected politicians accountable.

Opposing the River Club development, the OCA has formed alliances with other Civics, and, critically, with a number of Khoi cultural and representative groups who oppose the River Club development on a range of reasons, being

a. The development is a violation of the cultural heritage and dignity of the Khoi people;

b. The developer is hugely damaging to the environment and violates almost all of the City’s environmental protection policies; and

c. The process by which the developer obtained approvals was irregular and demonstrate the failure of democratic governance at a municipal level in Cape Town.

The OCA has mobilised multiple objections and appeals both to the City’s rezoning process and the DEADP EA approval; we have jointly submitted an application with 60 First Nation groups, Civics and NGO to have the Two Rivers Urban Park declared a Provincial Heritage Site; we have written public opinions and lobbied decision makers; we have a petition with over 22 000 signatories opposing the development; we have recently commissioned Social Media and Design consultants to assist us on our campaign. We have created a number of different networks, and a Liesbeek Action Campaign group, drawing in multiple volunteers and partners to campaign against the development.

However, the OCA is a voluntary Civic Association that relies on members who are not employed to do such work. Most members work full time and assist OCA work after hours. The OCA does not have a large propaganda budget unlike the developers who are able to regularly access newspaper space for their opinions. Instead, our campaign has largely relied on volunteers who believe in the cause.

Way Forward:

The OCA convened a meeting in February 2021 with other civics, NGOs and the Goringhaicona to plan a campaign over the next months which. We anticipate the campaign playing out with the following elements:

a. An intensive social media campaign providing key messaging and mobilising support;

b. Public events such as a march for International Human Rights Day or other such public holidays;

c. Community action, such as picketing;

d. Letter writing to key public figures; 

e. Mobilising of key public figures to speak out in favour of our campaign; 

f. Promoting our message in the media through letters, articles, opinion pieces;

g. Building and consolidating coalitions with other partners across sectors;

h. Research to support our campaign (e.g. an analysis of the MPT decision-making patterns over the past years as part of dossier to support a complaint to the public protector; call on the SAHRC to investigate);

i. Networking with international groups (first nation; environmental; civic democracy) to support our cause;

j. Public naming and shaming of the collusion of powerful developers with party political interests;

k. Assisting with fundraising – both crowdfunding and sourcing of external donors and the research needed for these steps;

We are likely also to pursue high court review of either or both of the decisions. Since we believe there is immense political pressure to approve this development, and since the behaviour of planning officials in the provincial and municipal authorities are not transparent, impartial or evidence-based, we anticipate having to fight this both through lawfare and through public mobilisation. Anyone wishing to assist, please contact Edwin at

For more information regarding the development, please visit the Observatory Civic Association website.