Concern over new golf course
Questions whether Hawston poor will benefit
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.”