The City of Cape Town’s approach to building and development in the city could affect the DA’s performance at the polls next month.
An online petition against the DA and mayor Patricia de Lille is calling on residents to boycott the party at the ballot box, if the city council proceeds with plans for the R1.5 billion private development of Maiden’s Cove.
Posted to the Facebook group “Save Cape Town”, the administrator of the group and the petition’s creator, filmmaker Mark Jackson, has called on petitioners to sign “in a desperate bid to save Cape Town”.
“I’m very concerned about what is happening to Cape Town under De Lille’s watch, and I think most people are not aware of how bad this could get, and so people need to act now,” he told the Cape Argus.
The petition also makes reference to approvals for a R1bn high-rise development in the Bo-Kaap, saying it was a slap in the face of locals who had objected.
Tomorrow the council’s spatial planning, environment and land use management committee is due to decide on plans for 400 houses to be built in Kommetjie.
The community is now rallying to mount a legal challenge to stop it, saying it would ruin the rural feel of the area and the infrastructure would not cope.
The city’s DA administration has also come under fire for giving tacit approval to the development of hundreds of houses, shops and a school on agricultural land in the Philippi Horticultural Area.
“We’ve had to sue our own city council to save the Sea Point promenade from commercial exploitation. We had to fight to save Princess Vlei. Now we are drawing the line. We know there are other parties to vote for besides the DA or ANC,” said the petition.
By the time of going to press on Monday, the Maiden’s Cove petition was nearing 500 signatures after four days.
Jackson said the online petition would remain open until the election with the aim of reaching at least 5 000 signatures.
But the DA’s media manager in the City of Cape Town, Cameron Arendse said “Save Cape Town” was peddling false information in a bid to get the ANC elected.
It was untrue that the Maiden’s Cove development would result in reduced public access, he said.
In the petition, De Lille is accused of not addressing allegations that developers are being favoured in return for party donations.
But, Arendse said: “If there is any evidence of corruption, then those who have the evidence should disclose it and lay charges with the police. The city requires the developer to upgrade the public spaces and open them to the public to enjoy.”
The city removed its original Facebook post of two weeks ago informing the public of its planned development of the Maiden’s Cove Coastal Park, after a flood of objections, and replaced it with a new post.
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said on Monday that the developer would pay for all public amenities at Maiden’s Cove which would include boardwalks, new ablution facilities and braai areas.
But the online petition says objectors would prefer the natural beauty and open space.
“We would appreciate a boardwalk, and know that building a simple boardwalk actually has nothing to do with this selling-off of public property,” said the petition.
“After more than 100 years of preservation from developers, all this will now be lost, to us and future generations.”
Chris Willemse, the chairman of the Camps Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association said while he supported the petition’s initiative, ratepayers’ associations were non-political.
“We have to keep putting pressure on the ruling party, but people must decide what they want to do. Petitions are a good thing because it highlights the problems facing the communities and how politicians are doing, but people must make a decision based on their own interests,” he said.
Jenny McQueen of the Green Point Ratepayers and Residents Association agreed, saying she viewed the petition as a threat to be heard.
“As a ratepayers’ association we don’t support any political side. We only want to fight the city council and the DA against their selling off public land.”
She said if the petition was unsuccessful it could be used in a legal challenge to reflect the number of objectors.