Media statement: Tafelberg Decision Will Be Guided by the Constitution
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille emphasised today that a decision on the disposal of the Tafelberg site in Sea Point has not yet been taken; that no undue influence has been exercised on the process to date; and that no undue influence will enter the process as it continues to unfold.
She was responding to a report in the City Press suggesting that the property interests of a former senior official in the Department of Public Works may have influenced government in relation to potential future uses of the site.
“There has been no undue influence in the decisions around the property to date, nor will there be as the process unfolds,” Zille said. “Any decision will be based on our constitutional and legal obligations, including a consideration of the public comment received.”
“We have sought to follow a fair and open process, to the extent that we agreed to re-open public participation when a member of the public said she had not been afforded the opportunity to comment.”
“I seek and follow legal advice at every step of the way in complex governmental processes, and this one is no different.
“The Cabinet will make a determination on the property once all of the approximate 5 000 submissions have been fairly considered, and in accordance with the Constitution and other applicable laws. All the legal advice I have received at every stage of this process will also be available to the Cabinet.”
Ms Zille emphasised that the official in question had not been involved, or even employed by the Department of Transport and Public Works, when the decision was taken to include the property in the Provincial Regeneration Programme’s mandate, or the Department’s initial proposed disposal of the site to Cabinet. These decisions on the property either pre-dated, or followed, the official’s employment at the Department of Public Works.
“The official is also not involved in any way in the current process regarding Tafelberg. As per his current employment conditions, his only role is to co-ordinate the delivery of a major affordable housing project at the site of the old Conradie Hospital. His expertise has had a significant and positive impact on the project.”
Premier Zille said both the Province and the City are making major progress on affordable housing developments in the vicinity of Cape Town’s CBD. One of the flagship projects is the Better Living Model on the former Conradie Hospital site in Pinelands, a nodal suburb of the inner city. This is a mixed-use development that will include over 3500 residential units, green public spaces, transport infrastructure and schools.
The City of Cape Town has also recently announced plans to develop the inner city’s Foreshore precinct, which will include affordable housing. An Expression of Interest has been issued for proposals from the public.
“We are committed to our housing mandate, as derived from the Constitution. The economic success, and jobs created, in Cape Town’s CBD, has led to higher demand for well-located, affordable housing. The solutions we are driving are unique in South Africa, with the ability to make a real impact on the legacy of Apartheid spatial planning in the City,” said Premier Zille.