Western Cape government dealt another Tafelberg blow
RECLAIM the City (RTC) has welcomed the Western Cape High Court’s dismissal of a provincial government application to appeal an earlier ruling against the sale of the hotly contested Tafelberg property in Sea Point.
The property, located on Main Road, is over 1.7 hectares.
In August last year, the court set aside the province’s sale of the welllocated property to a private buyer, the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School, for R135 million.
The next month, both the province and the City filed applications for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, challenging various aspects of the high court order.
While the high court granted the province leave to appeal certain aspects of its judgment, RTC said confirmation that the sale would not go through was a significant victory.
In his judgment, Judge Patrick Gamble said: “We remain concerned that, rather than addressing the core issues at hand, the province now seeks to take steps to litigate and protract further the delays occasioned by its constitutional delinquency.
“We do not for one moment deny the province its constitutional entitlement to litigate in our courts and beyond, but we note that in the press statement issued on September 18, 2020, the province implicitly acknowledged its shortcomings, and we would have expected that it would have employed its resources to that end rather than on the high cost of litigation.”
Ndifuna Ukwazi director Mandisa Shandu added that the need to address urban inequality through improved access to land was and remained one of the post-apartheid democratic government’s most significant mandates.
“The high court’s judgment constitutes a radical break with the past,” Shandu said.
Premier Alan Winde said the provincial government was committed to achieving spatial regress.
“The Western Cape government notes the judgment by the Western Cape High Court, granting leave to appeal against the majority of the orders that were made by the court on August 31, 2020. We will consider, with our legal team, the remaining orders against which leave to appeal has not been granted, before deciding on the way forward.”
He said the land’s return to the province’s portfolio gave it the opportunity to reconsider the land’s future use in light of the priorities of the administration.
“Redressing the wrongs of our painful past is a priority of our administration. We intend to do all we can to make sure our province becomes inclusive, knowing that there are no quick fixes, and that this is a road we must walk together,” Winde said.
The City said its appeal prospects were good. “The City agrees that appeal prospects are good, given that both the court and applicants were unable to point to a single legislative provision on which the City had not fulfilled its housing obligations,” the City said.