Vexing Development

Cape Times
Monday, 17 June 2013

THE letter by Garreth Bloor, “City will still engage communities and bolster sub-councils” (June 14), follows a withdrawal of the item on the city’s agenda at its May council meeting to reduce the role of sub-councils (due to resistance from DA councillors), and is an attempt to lull the public into a false sense of security, while the city goes ahead with its efforts to fast-track development at all costs.

The letter was written in response to letters in the Cape Times by Glenn Ashton (about the cozy relationship between the City of Cape Town and developers), by Len Swimmer (about the city’s attempts to remove the rights of sub-councils to make decisions about development applications), by Paul Hoffman (about the current constitution and legislation requiring democratic city processes and city accountability) and by Keith Gottschalk (about the city’s and developers’ desire to support development regardless of the consequences, and of party affiliation). They are all timeous and important lessons for the public of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

For those who believe that these letters are simply conspiracy theories, it would be useful to note other recent moves on the part of the city and Western Cape government to this “development at all costs” approach by the city, the province and developers.

  • In 2012 the City of Cape Town made moves to disband Spelum-the spatial planning, environment and land use planning committee (the city’s committee to make recommendations with regard to bigger and more controversial planning applications).
  • in 2012, the province’s MEC for -finace, economic development and tourism, Alan Winde, moved to remove all red tape in the development process, through his red tape to red carpet campaign.
  • The Draft Western Cape Land Use Planning Bill, 2013 in its current form:

• More or less removes any ability for community organisations (including ratepayers, residents and civic associations) to comment on land use matters in their localities.
• Virtually completely writes the Western Cape government out of exercising any appeal function over municipal land use planning decisions in the future.

Alan Jackson, Claremont

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