Cape Town - The land deal around an extension to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has been declared legal by the public protector.
In March, the ANC raised concerns about the deal, claiming the market value of the land was R50 million, but the city was paying more than R100m in its purchase from media company Naspers.
The ANC said this highlighted a “questionable relationship” between the DA-run city and Naspers shareholders. However, the city has denied any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, the deputy mayor of Cape Town, Ian Nielson, said the findings were “a clear vindication of the city’s belief that the ANC’s complaint on this matter was vexatious and driven by petty politics”.
“Most importantly, the public protector found that the deal was in the best interests of the city, that the purchase price was reasonable and that there was no evidence of any individual improperly benefiting from the deal.”
In the findings, the public protector made the following findings:
However, the public protector also found that “the city, as the purchaser in this transaction, failed to take charge of the negotiations from the outset leading to the sales agreement. This failure constituted maladministration”.
In response to the latter, Neilson noted “that while the initial negotiations with Naspers were conducted by Convenco, the relevant city officials, who have the oversight role over Convenco, were involved at that early stage”.
“It was only once the decision was taken that the city would purchase the land, rather than it be purchased by Convenco, that the city’s property management department was authorised to become involved in the process.”
The city promised to adhere to a full internal investigation, as demanded by the public protector.