Cape Town residents are challenging the City of Cape Town in the High Court for a R1.5 billion plan to develop Maiden’s Cove, which is the scenic headland and beach, between Clifton Fourth Beach and Glen Beach in Camps Bay.
The development of the cove area, devised in 2015, includes plans for 52 residential homes, a boutique hotel, retail and restaurant spaces, and a parking garage for 700 vehicles.
Bo-Kaap Ratepayers Civic Association and community activists are outraged by the Clifton Precinct Development Plan, which they expressed in an affidavit. Residents claim they were never included for public consultation.
Chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Ratepayers and Civic Association, Osman Shabodien, states that the project to develop the area seems to be an elite development that disregards the fact that Maiden’s Cove is a special place for the Bo-Kaap community and the broader Cape Flats, people who were previously barred from accessing the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay during apartheid.
Shabodien argues that the development strays from the goal of promoting a more equal society by benefiting affluent people and limiting opportunity for the majority of the Cape community.
“With the development of the area, the City of Cape Town is enforcing the apartheid spatial plan, as we [residents] will not be able to afford to go into the area,” Shabodien stated.
Maiden’s Cove for All (MCA), a non-profit dedicated to maintaining public access to the cove, was permitted by the Western Cape High Court on July 17, 2018, to join as a fifth applicant in the court battle.
MCA will also present a new process to decide on a plan for Maiden’s Cove.
According to the MCA, the City has no legal authority to enact the plan since the Constitution and many statutes deem the land a public trust and a protected open coastal reserve.
Chairperson of MCA, Vanessa September said the City is failing its constitutional duty “to engage meaningfully with those most directly affected by the proposed development and to heal the divisions of the past by overcoming rather than intensifying racial spatial segmentation of the city”.
“They [the Bo-Kaap and Cape Flats communities] will lose their large present parking area, and instead of having the mountain-side behind them, will find their picnic space overlooked by rich, privileged people in their newly built upmarket homes,” she added.
The City has requested more time to assess the new issues that have been raised by MCA. It has asked for lenience until November 30 this year in order to respond to the papers. The presiding judge is expected to decide on a court date.
“It appears extremely unlikely that the matter will be heard this year,” September said.
The MCA will host a community gathering at Maiden’s Cove on September 24. The group has encouraged people to join the meeting and braai, picnic and share their stories about Maiden’s Cove.