4 October 2017

South Africa: Residents Furious As City of Cape Town Awards Controversial R1 Billion Prime Land Tender

The City of Cape Town has awarded a controversial R1 billion tender to sell and transform stretches of its prime land between Clifton and Camps Bay - a move which residents feel will push up costs and start squeezing out those who can no longer afford to live there.

The Clifton tender, which involves selling, as well as leasing out city-owned land, has been the centre of controversy for years.

In 2015, it was reported that the majority of Cape Town councillors voted in favour of the project, with the ANC, ACDP and FF Plus opposing it.

The Mail&Guardian also reported in 2015 that Mayor Patricia de Lille was driving the campaign to have the prime coastal land handed over to private developers and she received an unsolicited bid from a private consortium involving two acquaintances of hers.

However, the article pointed out there was nothing to suggest there was anything improper about this.

This week the city said bidders were told about the outcome of the bidding process last Thursday. The city said the approximately R1bn tender was awarded to K2015298271 South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

News24 understands the total offer was R1 014 244 500.

Unsuccessful bidders now have 21 days to appeal this outcome.

Planning and public participation processes would take place.

'Just for the wealthy'

While the City of Cape Town has said the mega-development will have multiple benefits, the news has not been welcomed by all.

Len Swimmer, deputy chairperson of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, which represents more than 360 organisations around the city and less affluent areas including Manenberg, said residents would lose out.

"They're going to build a massive parking lot [as part of the development], so people will have to then pay and won't be able to get in," he said.

"So it's going to be an exclusive area for the wealthy."

Chris Willemse, chairperson of the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers Association, said the awarding of the tender by the city was disappointing.

"They [the city] took no cognizance of the huge public disapproval of this scheme," he said.

"We know what happens. The area gets gentrified. People who are enjoying the area traditionally, historically and rightfully won't be able to afford it anymore."

Willemse said it seemed as if the City of Cape Town had awarded the tender simply to benefit itself.

"It's not a secret that developers are the sponsors of the DA," he said.

Giving back for 'affordable housing'

But Brett Herron, mayor committee member for transport and urban development, said some money would be ploughed back for affordable housing.

"The city will allocate at least 10% of the financial offer to affordable and inclusionary housing projects on well-located land in the inner-city," he said.

Herron said the city-owned land, which the tender dealt with, was in a degraded state.

The proposed development, he said, would have several benefits.

This included improving the access of the public to the beach and recreational facilities, enhance tourism potential and "unlock investment to drive job creation".

Herron said "a thorough and rigorous supply chain management process was followed" in awarding the tender.

He said the city had advertised the tender for the development of city-owned land between the Clifton bungalows and Camps Bay in March 2016.

Eight tenders were received by the cut-off date in mid-June 2016.

Boutique hotel, restaurants and retail

Herron said city-owned land would be made available to the successful bidder, who would have to develop:

- A boutique hotel, or serviced apartment site, of 3 500 square metres.

- A restaurant and retail component of 5 000 square metres.

- Two pockets of residential developments consisting of 52 residential stands

- A mixed-use area, consisting of officers, studios and apartments, of 2 250 square metres.

- An underground parking facility of about 725 parking bays.

"Sections of the four erven located in this area will be sold and others leased for a period of up to 50 years," Herron said.

"Meaning, sections of the land parcels will be developed and managed by the private sector as sustainable assets for future generations."

After the 50-year lease period, the land was meant to be returned to the city.

Upgrades

Herron said the successful bidder would also have to upgrade surrounding public infrastructure.

This included the Maiden's Cove picnic area which was to be revamped into an area similar to that of the Green Point Urban Park, improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by upgrading a key road in the area, as well as rehabilitating the Clifton Lifesaving Club buildings.

Aside from this, Herron said, the successful bidder would have to provide new public infrastructure.

This included a boardwalk in the Bantry Bay area to provide the public with access to a certain part of the shoreline.

"The cost of the investment in the upgrading of existing public infrastructure and the construction of new public infrastructure will be funded by the city," Herron said.

Source: News24

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