Con­cern over new golf course

Ques­tions whether Haw­ston poor will ben­e­fit

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WARDA MEYER

A GROUP of Haw­ston res­i­dents is con­cerned about plans by their mu­nic­i­pal­ity and ty­coon Jo­hann Ru­pert to build a pair of links golf cour­ses next to the town.

The 204ha site is one of the last un­de­vel­oped seafront prop­er­ties in the area and in­cludes 2 600m of prime seafront, which the coun­cil wants to sell for R22 mil­lion to a com­pany linked to the busi­ness ty­coon.

Ru­pert’s team, with rugby leg­end Morné du Plessis driv­ing the project, sub­mit­ted a pro­posal in 2005 for a pair of links cour­ses as a cat­a­lyst for the de­vel­op­ment of land be­tween Haw­ston and Fish­er­haven. One of the cour­ses will be a pri­vate one, with the idea that in­come earned by it will fund the up­keep and op­er­a­tion of a pub­lic golf course.

But some Haw­ston res­i­dents fear the deal will not ben­e­fit the im­pov­er­ished com­mu­nity.

Tommy Gelderblom, tasked by the res­i­dents to look into the deal, said: “We need this land for hous­ing, not golf­ing. We met Morné du Plessis last year and we told him what we wanted if they went ahead with the de­vel­op­ment. But then every­thing went quiet, un­til we saw an ad in the lo­cal pa­per in­form­ing us of the pro­posed sale.”

Com­mu­nity leader Elnora Gil­lion said res­i­dents had jumped into ac­tion as soon as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity placed a no­tice of its in­ten­tion to sell the land in the news­pa­per in Novem­ber.

“It is a con­cern that they do not spec­ify in the ad what the prop­erty will be used for, only that it was sold to Dar­i­oyog In­vest­ment for R22m.”

Peo­ple have un­til De­cem­ber 27 to for­mally ob­ject to the sale.

Gil­lion claimed the nearby Ara­bella golf es­tate had been in­tended to up­lift the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties, but noth­ing had come of it.

“We can count on our fin­gers how many peo­ple were em­ployed there. The same will hap­pen again.”

Philli­pus May, ANC chair­man in Haw­ston, said they wanted to stop the Da-run Over­strand coun­cil from sell­ing off mu­nic­i­pal land.

“We must con­sider our chil­dren and their chil­dren. We will need land for low-cost hous­ing for our peo­ple.”

Du Plessis con­firmed that they had sub­mit­ted a pro­posal in 2005 to de­velop two links golf cour­ses on land known as por­tions two and three of Mid­delvlei Farm, be­tween Haw­ston and Fish­er­haven.

But the pro­posal needed two additional pieces of ad­join­ing land – one be­long­ing to Over­strand Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the other to the national Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works. The process of ac­quir­ing these pieces of land had not yet be­gun.

Dar­i­oyog In­vest­ments, used as a ve­hi­cle for the ten­der ap­pli­ca­tion, had been the only bid­der for the land.

Du Plessis and Pi­eter van der Poel are di­rec­tors of Dar­i­oyog In­vest­ments. Van der Poel is also a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ru­pert Foun­da­tion.

Du Plessis said: “Jo­hann Ru­pert has un­der­writ­ten the pur­chase price of the land and re­mains, along­side my­self, a ma­jor pro­po­nent of the project.”

Du Plessis said the of­fer price had been R2m more than the R20m an independent val­uer had said it was worth.

“We will not pro­ceed with the project should the Haw­ston com­mu­nity ob­ject to this or should a more vi­able or sus­tain­able land use be pro­mul­gated.”

The project was also sub­ject to a re­zon­ing process. This would need pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact stud­ies.

A pub­lic in­for­ma­tion meet­ing was held in Haw­ston last Mon­day when de­tailed plans for the de­vel­op­ment of the area was pre­sented to the com­mu­nity.

Over­strand mu­nic­i­pal spokesman Fanie Krige said: “The meet­ing was very volatile and mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials strug­gled to present the real facts re­gard­ing the de­vel­op­ment in the area.”

He said it was a pity that a project that could be of great eco­nomic ben­e­fit was shouted down be­fore it could be prop­erly de­bated.

“A re­port on the mat­ter will go on to the coun­cil agenda in Fe­bru­ary.”

Re­fer­ring to the con­cern about land for hous­ing, Krige said the Over­strand mu­nic­i­pal­ity had iden­ti­fied 30ha next to Haw­ston for hous­ing de­vel­op­ment. A to­tal of 863 ser­viced sites would con­tain sub­sidised and gap hous­ing.

“All the peo­ple on the cur­rent wait­ing list for Haw­ston will be ac­com­mo­dated in this new de­vel­op­ment.”

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