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Friday Oct 06, 2017

Cape Town's R1bn sale of Clifton property slammed

The City of Cape Town has confirmed that it has disposed of a Clifton property, sold for just over R1 billion, without requiring successful bidders to be BEE-compliant.

The City had announced the awarding of the tender to K2015298271 South Africa (Pty) Ltd for about 16 hectares, of which 5ha had been made available for the development.

Mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron said the Preferential Procurement Regulations (2011) pertaining to the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (5 of 2000) were not applicable for the sale and letting of assets.

"In instances where assets are sold or leased by means of advertised competitive bids or written price quotations or by auctions, the award must be made to the highest bidder," said Herron.

He said despite these regulations the City had used the preferential points system in some of its property tenders.

"In the case of the Clifton tender, the objective is to maximise the monetary value of the property to provide funds for the upgrading and the improvement of the environment and to create a fund for a near inner-city housing project," said Herron.

But the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers Association (CBCRA) has criticised the City's public participation process as a "sham".

CBCRA chairperson Chris Willemse said they had suggested from the start that this precious piece of land be treated with great care to ensure its environmental and rich heritage value be preserved.

"We have always maintained that the public participation process conducted by the City was mostly a sham and reviewable by a court of law. We received many very sensible proposals from leading architects, which involve limited development but provide great environmental value to the precinct while retaining the ethos of the Maidens Cove area. The City has completely ignored such proposals," said Willemse.

The proposed development will improve public access to the beach, ocean and recreational facilities as well as protect the natural vegetation and enhance the local and international tourism potential.

Herron said the City would allocate at least 10% of the financial offer to affordable and inclusionary housing on land in the inner city.

Willemse said, on reviewing the tender documents, it appeared as if the 10% would be raised on a portion of the offer and only realise about R20m, far from the R100m sum impression created by the City.

Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance Deputy chairperson Len Swimmer said: "We have always voiced our objections to the public participation process and this was merely the City ticking boxes. A democratic space has effectively been closed down."

Activist organisation assisting Reclaim the City's Ndifuna Ukwazi said: "If Clifton Precinct is suitable for development, then it is suitable for the development of affordable housing."

Cape Times

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