‘Hands off the Tafel­berg site’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - YAZEED KAMALDIEN

SEA Point res­i­dents are op­pos­ing a lobby group’s calls for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to use the empty Tafel­berg school site for af­ford­able hous­ing.

David Polovin, deputy chair­man of the Sea Point Fres­naye Bantry Bay Ratepay­ers and Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (SFB), said res­i­dents viewed the site as a “pow­er­ful en­gine for change in the neighbourhood”.

“The use to which it fi­nally is put could re­gen­er­ate, en­rich and up­lift the area, or con­versely set it back sig­nif­i­cantly,” said Polovin.

“The pro­posed al­ter­na­tive, that it be used for af­ford­able hous­ing, is nei­ther prac­ti­ca­ble nor in the in­ter­ests of the Sea Point com­mu­nity.”

Lobby group Re­claim the City says us­ing the site for hous­ing would counter what it calls Cape Town’s “apartheid spa­tial plan­ning”.

Ear­lier this month the group asked the Western Cape High Court to stop the pro­vin­cial Trans­port and Pub­lic Works Depart­ment sell­ing Tafel­berg for R135 mil­lion to the Phyl­lis Jowel Jewish Day School.

The court or­dered the depart­ment to re­open the pub- lic con­sul­ta­tion process.

The depart­ment had pro­moted, via a brochure, “four prime op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vestors”.

Sea Point res­i­dents plan to make their voices heard dur­ing the 21-day pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process that ends on June 9.

Polovin said res­i­dents be­lieved if the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment sold Tafel­berg it could use “pro­ceeds from the sale for af­ford­able hous­ing or other so­cial up­lift­ment needs” else­where.

“We think the prop­erty does not meet the cri­te­ria for af­ford­able hous­ing. There is much bet­ter pro­vin­cial-owned land for af­ford­able hous­ing in Cape Town, such as the old Con­radie Hospi­tal site in Pinelands,” he said.

“We are not per­suaded that it ( af­ford­able hous­ing) serves the in­ter­ests of Sea Point­ers, in­clud­ing res­i­dents and work­ers.”

Polovin said it was “naive to imag­ine that the gov­ern­ment is bet­ter at land man­age­ment than pri­vate en­ter­prise”.

“There is lit­tle state-owned ren­tals (stock) in Sea Point and the area is not and has never been suit­able for af­ford­able hous­ing, which ex­plains why there is lit­tle of it,” he added.

“No in­formed per­son can be­lieve that Sea Point of­fers a vi­able op­por­tu­nity to spend pub­lic money on af­ford­able hous­ing and we’ve heard no proper rea­son to gain­say that.

“What we’ve heard in­stead are po­lit­i­cal imag­in­ings that take no ac­count of town plan­ning con­sid­er­a­tions, bud­getary con­straints and the op­ti­mal use of thin re­sources for com­pet­ing de­mands.”

Weekend Ar­gus found at least two state-owned prop­er­ties in Sea Point that are aban­doned and fenced up.

One is Rock­lands Vil­las be­hind the SABC build­ing and the other is Wyn­yard Man­sions be­hind the Tafel­berg.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said Rock­lands Vil­las was a “build­ing pur­chased long ago to pro­vide the SABC ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity”.

It was un­suit­able for hu­man oc­cu­pa­tion and had been empty since 1996.

Siph­e­sihle Dube, spokes- man for Don­ald Grant, MEC for Trans­port and Pub­lic Works, said Wyn­yard Man­sions was part of the Tafel­berg sale and had also been sold to the Phyl­lis Jowel school.

“This pro­posed sale has been taken un­der le­gal re­view. This process is cur­rently un­der way.”

PIC­TURES: YAZEED KAMALDIEN

DE­NIED AC­CESS: Wyn­yard Man­sions is a di­lap­i­dated sta­te­owned prop­erty be­hind the con­tested Tafel­berg school prop­erty in Sea Point and was up for sale along with the Tafel­berg site. Lo­cals say of­fi­cials need to un­lock land for af­ford­able hous­ing.

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