New Stellenbosch developments questioned
AREAS in Stellenbosch are due for expensive upgrades but the approval of new property developments has raised questions from opposition parties in the Winelands town.
They claim plans were approved without being tabled before City Council. Proposed developments advertised in a local newspaper raised suspicion of further deals.
New premises for Mediclinic Hospital on the R44 came to light when EFF councillor Derrick Hendrickse asked the council about the authorisation of rezoning and development for the site.
Hendrickse said: “If we only found out about this from newspaper adverts, what else are we not aware of ? What else is being approved without our knowledge?”
He can’t recall the matter being placed before the council or any of its committees.
Municipal manager Geraldine Mettler said that according to the council’s system of delegations, the director could consider applications for rezoning.
“The director and/ or the Planning and Economic Development portfolio committee have delegated authority to consider land-use planning applications submitted prior to December 1, 2015,” she said.
Mettler said the authority of the director of Planning and Economic Development, Dupre Lombaard, could “decide on all applications submitted subsequent to December 1, 2015”.
In response to a request for comment, municipality spokesperson Vernon Bowers forwarded a letter from Lombaard, similar to Mettler’s reply to council, stating that authority to consider land-use applications was by “delegation for decision-making and removal of red tape to applications submitted on or after December 1, 2015”.
Gerrit van den Berg of Atterbury Property, which is developing the new hospital in Stellenbosch, said their architect submitted an application for rezoning of the land, “Farm 1049/2 from Business Zone to Institutional Zone”, in 2015.
“Along with this application was various other applications made, of which among others were the application towards environmental affairs as well as the heritage applications,” Van den Berg said.
The architects were notified of the approval in January. Van den Berg said six objections for the rezoning were noted, but three were withdrawn.
There are also questions over the planned construction of a 40 000m2 Sawmill Shopping Centre off Adam Tas Road.
ANC councillor Ronalda Nalumango said it was strange how the developments were not brought to council.
She said the council should have an opportunity to ensure inclusive development of the shopping centre, by setting conditions for the businesses set to benefit.
Van den Berg said no plans had been submitted for the shopping centre.
“The Sawmill is part of a bigger, mixed-use precinct (retail, commercial, hotel, residential and light industrial) of which Atterbury is only a 50% partner in the retail component,” he said.
“The application was thus brought by the landowner, which is not Atterbury. Atterbury will only buy 50% of the retail portion once we commence with a project.”