Western Cape Human Settlements MEC, Tertuis Simmers and provincial departmental officials seen visiting various housing development projects across the City of Cape Town. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - Provincial Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers has hit back at Good party secretary-general Brett Herron, who accused him of misleading the public by saying that the provincial government acquired the Racing Park property in Killarney Gardens at the inflated price of R64.6million.

“On the contrary, this is much lower than the valuation of the property. Besides Herron’s misleading comments, he and his party's rhetoric that this government ‘chose to maintain the Group Areas status quo', is racially divisive, disingenuous and completely irresponsible,” Simmers said.

Last week, it emerged that the provincial government purchased a piece of land in Dunoon for R64m in an affluent suburb. Herron has requested that the provincial standing committee investigate the purchase. According to the Good party, the purchase of the land had been in excess of double the market value and amounted to wasteful or irregular expenditure.

“This property is situated adjacent to the Doorenbach land, on which parts of Dunoon is located. Doorenbach is owned by the City of Cape Town, who conducted an investigation into the acquisition of the Racing Park property. The City did not have the funds to acquire the property, and the previous minister of human settlements agreed to purchase the property, with the City's councillor Xanthea Limberg agreeing to the proposal.

"The property was acquired through the Housing Development Agency (HDA), as the provincial government had no power to acquire immovable property in terms of the Housing and Development Act.”

He said two evaluations were conducted through the HDA, amounting to R71m by Tashoma and R33m by Equitas. The HDA acquired the 17ha Racing Park property and the deed of sale was signed last September at the market value of R64.6m.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said: “I think people are just playing some political ploy. That particular plot we are engaging with Transnet is so that we can clear the railway line that was invaded by residents. About 400 residents will be given accommodation when the land is developed.”

Herron said: “I understand that MEC Simmers was not in the department at the time. I suggest that instead of resorting to hysteria that he focuses on the facts and the legitimate questions I am asking. He needs to ask some hard questions so that he delivers on the government of integrity promised by the premier.”

@MarvinCharles17

[email protected]

Cape Argus