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Cape Town - The DA has challenged ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman's claim that 98 percent of all properties the province's government was renting in Cape Town were privately owned.
“Not only are these statements 100 percent wrong, but Mr Fransman knows they are wrong, as he either signed and/or dealt with most of the leases himself,” transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle said in a statement on Wednesday.
Fransman told the Cape Town Press Club on October 10 that ethnic division in Cape Town was a reality if one looked at property and land ownership. He said the reality was that 98 percent of the land and property owners were white and, in particular, Jewish.
“That is not an ethnic mobilisation; that is the reality. The question is how do we move from that to make sure we get shared ownership?”
In an interview with the Voice of the Cape radio station in February, Fransman alleged that the Democratic Alliance had given Jewish businessmen building contracts previously held by Muslims in two Cape Town suburbs.
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission, which arranged a mediation process.
The complaint was that Fransman had made demeaning and inflammatory remarks that could create animosity between Muslims and Jews.
According to Carlisle, the leases the province had in the Cape Town CBD were:
* Protea Assurance Building, owned by Oasis, a black-owned entity which was also Sharia compliant;
* Waldorf Building, privately owned by Moosa Baba of Cameroon;
* Golden Acre, owned by Growthpoint Properties, a JSE-listed company;
* Grand Central Building, owned by Ascension Properties, a black-managed and substantially black-owned, JSE-listed company;
* Atterbury House, also owned by Ascension Properties;
* Norton House, also owned by Baba; and
* 11 Leeuwen, owned by the Benjamin Family Trust.
“Mr Fransman would have signed and/or dealt with every one of these leases in some regard at some time during his tenure as MEC for transport and public works,” Carlisle said.
Africa Check, a non-partisan organisation promoting accuracy in public debate, said in an article that the claims could not be verified.
It reported that when it asked Fransman if he had done an audit of the race of property owners in Cape Town and if so, how, Fransman had replied that the number was correct.
The organisation quoted Debra Gouws, a Cape Town lawyer who specialises in property law, as saying it was impossible to identify the race of a property owner based on deeds issued after 1994.
“In the case of older deeds it is possible to ascertain the race of the owner, although I have seen some older deeds in which it is not recorded,” she said.