The public want answers on the Chapman’s Peak Toll Plaza and office

Bronwen protests with Dad (96) at Murray & Roberts Headquarters in Johannesburg which resulted in a meeting with the CEO

Bronwen protests with Dad (96) at Murray & Roberts Headquarters in Johannesburg which resulted in a meeting with the CEO












Bronwen Lankers-Byrne, the very brave activist who has been fighting against the construction of a toll plaza and luxury office block on Chapman’s Peak is continuing to engage with the decision makers.

Together with the overwhelming public outcry against the construction, Bronwen undertook a 16 Day Hunger Strike and together with other activists, took occupation of the site to draw attention to the Toll Plaza and luxury office block being constructed on the Unesco World Heritage Site of Chapman’s Peak, Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town. After being threatened with arrest, it took a High Court Judge to get her out and they returned in the dark at 20h30 at night to bully her out the building site.

In her continuing quest for the proponents of the plaza and office block to submit to the public and and environmental interest, Bronwen went to the headquarters of Murray and Roberts in Johannesburg to attempt to get a meeting with the CEO. After protesting outside the Murray and Roberts headquarters, together with her father (96), they eventually obliged with a meeting.

The following is a letter addressed to the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille and the CEO of Murray & Roberts, Mr Henry Laas:

April 4th, 2012
Dear Madam Premier and Mr Laas, CEO of Murray and Roberts,

Firstly I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to you for making time to meet with me (23rd March and 3rd April), listen to my concerns and suggestions as well as give me time to hear you. Please pass on my gratitude to your colleagues Riccardo Collins, Ed Jardim and Richard Vaughan with whom I left information and/or spent extra time.

I met with you during my time away and am now back on line having returned last night from 2 weeks away looking after my parents, celebrating my father’s 96th and my 60th birthday’s, seeing my son as well as receiving a UNEP award for Thrive’s efforts in sustainable development line.

I know that it is the “11th hour” and yet I left both meetings feeling hopeful as I still do. I believe that together we can change the destiny of the Chappies Toll Plaza and together we can come up with a win win solution and prevent an expensive, unwanted and imminent court case.

I recognise that you are both in difficult positions, accountable to your electorate and to your shareholders respectively. You clearly stated Mr Laas that the PGWC are your clients and that your responsibility is to carry out instructions given to you. Futhermore you both believe that due process has been adhered to and that the letter of the law has been followed.

I understand that you believe you have chosen the best financial solution and the current toll plaza/office solution is a practical and environmentally acceptable option which at the end of the day provides you with a clean bill for the auditor general and Murray and Roberts shareholders.

I and the public have many unanswered questions/ concerns and would like answers to the following:

  1. Why have you not adhered to the Western Cape Toll Road Act 1999 by committing to spend taxpayers money on the toll plaza/offices which should be paid for by Entilini, the consessionaire? Why is the Concessionaire not paying for the whole amount of the Toll Plaza & office block as per the Tolling Act?
  2. Madam Premier you justified the construction of the R54million Toll plaza and Entilini offices because the auditor general would no longer allow the annual rental expenditure of R25million paid to Entilini. On Cape Talk radio Mr Enzo Menengelo of Entilini stated that the monthly rental cost paid for by the PGWC is R1.2million and later corrected this to R100 000. What are the details of the monthly rental expenditure of the Entilini offices? Please clarify as we know that the office spaces in Hout Bay of the size Entilini has rented for the past 8 years costs around R10 000 per month.
  3. Is Entilini a sustainable business and to what degree is it subsidised by the PGWC? Please disclose Entilini’s finacial reports for the last 8 years and show us how the Province is going to get its money back as you, Madam Premiers and your MEC for transport have confidently predicted?
  4. Do you know that the Environmental Authority (ROD) granted in 2008 was given on the grounds, amongst others, that the activity authorised (tolling of the road, delegated to Entilini) had to be sustainable ( a viable business). That was based on the projected figures which have never been achieved and that the authority would not have been granted had the figures been realistically projected? What is the point of continuing with a non viable operation? What is the incentive to do so? How can it conceivably be in the public interest to carry on doing something when it would be cheaper overall not to do it. If what I and thousands of others believe to be the case is incorrect why not prove it to be so by releasing the facts? Why are you making it so difficult to get information?
  5. You say that if the toll plaza and office plans are to change, the primary expense will be the penalties incurred in breaking the loan agreements and that Murray and Roberts nor the PGWC are unwilling to bear this cost and undo these financial committments. Please provide us with details of these penalty costs.

I respect your statement Madam Premier that you do not have the power to change decisions, but have the power to make the right decision. With due respect Madam Premier, the majority of people still believe that there is a far better solution than the one chosen by you. We therefore make another urgent plea to you to both answer the above questions publically and to act swiftly, halt the continued excavation on Chapman’s Peak and make public the cheaper and more environmentally appropriate options Murray & Roberts together with the PGWC have been exploring since the 17th February.

Your’s sincerely
Bronwen Lankers-Byrne
Protect Chapman’s Peak Movement


Sat 7th April – 8am onwards …
Two Oceans Marathon
On Chapman’s Peak Drive, Main Road, Hout Bay

Click here for more info on the: JOIN THE CHAPPIES PROTEST!


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