Capetonians urged to raise a red flag for Princess Vlei

Saturday 9th November @ 10 am. We are raising the red flag for Princess Vlei because something of great value is in danger. We are raising the red flag to warn our fellow citizens that the City proposes to disregard the needs of poorer citizens for accessible recreational areas, and to sell off a public open space which has been used by the community for generations.

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The desecration of a temple

But perhaps what was most remarkable about this gathering was that this group had come together on September 22 to defend one Cape Town’s most contested natural features – the Princess Vlei. What has motivated these moral custodians of our city to take this stand? Why has Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu bothered to weigh in to the debate with a message of support?

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Court battle looms over Durbanville property development on farm land

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell’s environmental approval for the development is being challenged in the Western Cape High Court by the Durbanville Community Forum, which represents 13 ratepayers’ associations. The would- be developer, the AFM Louw Family Trust, also has to get planning approval from the city to rezone and subdivide the property, as well as consent use for those parts of the development that would not comply with rezoning regulations.

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Tutu weighs in against Princess Vlei mall

In a statement to the Princess Vlei Forum, Tutu said: ‘I would like to express my support for the campaign to save the greater Princess Vlei area from the inappropriate development of a shopping mall, and for its protection in perpetuity as a nature and heritage park. Princess Vlei is a valuable place for citizens to come to be close to God and nature, to find peace and to build family and community.

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Bid to halt 766 unit housing project

Unfair, unreasonable and unlawful – these are some of the allegations the Durbanville Community Forum has made in court papers against the Western Cape government’s approval for a major housing development on agricultural land outside the urban edge. The forum, which had ‘exhausted all other remedies’, is now taking legal action against Anton Bredell, MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, to have his decision reviewed and set aside.

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The Mayor and Public Open Spaces

The Princess Vlei Forum, representing a wide range of community organizations and communities in Cape Town expressed the wish that Princess Vlei be preserved as a cultural and recreational open space for all the people of Cape Town.

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Roll up red carpet for developers and listen to residents

Recently it was announced that the Mayor would appoint what one would call a “red carpet facilitator”. Read this with the proposal to change delegations in respect of planning issues and changing the mandate of the Spatial, Environmental, Land use and Planning committee making it a toothless instrument, delegating decision making powers to officials and one can’t but wonder what is going on.

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Durbanville forum fights to preserve historic farmland

Its members are concerned that recent moves to change the urban edge elsewhere in the city, such as using the Philippi Horticultural Area for residential development, may give this application greater impetus. The forum is meanwhile taking local government, environmental affairs and development planning MEC Anton Bredell, to court to set aside the environmental authorisation given by Bredell in February.

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Power and arrogance in council structures

There already seems to be power arrogance at play in these matters, as the impact of public participation is whittled away by emotive responses to community objections to developments which were felt not to be in their best interest. We must have rigorous public engagement to ensure balanced development in the city where nature and the built environment can be in harmony.

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Undignified rant

Unfortunately her record as mayor of Cape Town has been less illustrious but it gives us no pleasure to do our duty as citizens concerned with the direction that the City’s administration is heading, by taking her to task when we perceive serious mistakes being made. In this process we always say who we are, as does everyone who writes to the local media – our letters & articles would not be accepted for publication otherwise, so her rant about “nameless sources” is undignified.

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Forced Proposal

If the mayor recommends the proposal, which of her councillors is going to stand against her? I have it on good authority that at least one councillor who dared to move that the item be taken off the agenda was subsequently hauled before a DA disciplinary committee.

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DA Pandering To Economic Hit Men

Our city leadership under the governance of the Democratic Alliance (DA), have indicated clear intent to smother our hard-fought for inclusive, democratic governance system. They have instead prioritised a system of red carpets for business allies, under the auspices of a business friendly administration. Worse yet, they take major decisions, such as the alienation of high potential agricultural land, without due process or consideration. The instruction for the DA caucus to vote en bloc for the alienation of the Phillipi Horticultural Area (PHA) was legally questionable.

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Editorial: Strange developments

First, there is the city’s curious intransigence – and relative silence – on the unsolicited bid to develop a shopping mall on the shores of Princess Vlei, a potential environmental and cultural treasure for the people of Cape Town if sensitively preserved. Then there is its entertaining of a bid to radically alter the urban edge to allow a privately funded, massive development called Wescape to potentially go ahead on the West Coast. Third, there is the unanimous (some say not without duress) decision by the DA caucus in council to vote in favour of the alteration of the urban edge in the Philippi Horticultural Area to accommodate a private sector housing development.

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City of Cape Town wittling away public participation

It appears to us that the City of Cape Town is intent on being driven by monetary factors instead of the need to balance appropriate development in our beautiful city.

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City’s proposed amendment would infringe on the public’s right to be heard

Along with other controversial development decisions which were met with strong opposition during the public comment phase, such as the city’s support to amend the urban edge for a development on valuable agricultural land in Philippi and supporting the Wescape proposal near Melkbosstrand, civic groups said the city’s latest proposal was the ‘systematic dismantling of democracy’.

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Stop the city from abolishing your property rights

The Mayor is quietly attempting to push this amendment through a full sitting of Council scheduled for August whilst the DA caucus has effectively gagged dissenting councillors. All attempts by various civic/ratepayer groupings to properly consult with the DA in this matter have been met with a stony silence – other than the rather inadequate spin of Cllr Gareth Bloor, which has been published in the various broadsheets.

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