Questions have been raised about the City’s intention to lease the Rondebosch Golf Club for a mere R1000 a year for the next decade. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - Questions have been raised about the City’s intention to lease the Rondebosch Golf Club for a mere R1000 a year for the next decade. It’s the same golf club where Reclaim the City activists staged a protest last year, claiming that the facility should rather be used for the provision of affordable housing.

In a report submitted to the mayoral committee, the City said it was seeking approval from the council to commence with a public participation process in this regard.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said: “The City will receive a rental income for sporting purposes in accordance with its approved tariff structure, which is specific to golf course leases and is to be submitted to the council when the budget is considered.”

But the decision to lease the property for another 10 years has unleashed the fury of activists who have been fiercely advocating for affordable housing closer to work opportunities.

The City said in the report that the property is zoned for community facility use, and a public open space. In essence, any proposed developments of Rondebosch Golf Club will always have two primary constraints, which include the impact of the Black River 1:50-year flood line, which limits the proportion of the site for development; and access limitations, both in terms of car access as well as public transport.

The City said the property was valued at more than R10million.

Vos added: “Significant improvement to our municipal infrastructure is anticipated. Members have contributed substantially to projects undertaken by the club for improvements.”

In March, social housing pressure group Ndifuna Ukwazi did a feasibility study on prime land within the CBD leased to various entities that they say could be used for affordable housing.

The report, titled “City Leases”, cites Cape Town’s failure to redistribute land. It contains proposals for five areas that could be used.

These include the Rondebosch Golf Club, the Buitengracht Corridor, Harrington Square, and the Green Point and Fish Hoek bowling greens.  It also identifies 24 golf courses in the city, with 10 located on public land. 

The organisation said golf courses and bowling greens faced declining membership, yet every year the City continues to renew their leases.

At issue is the fact that Rondebosch Golf Course occupies about 45 full-sized soccer fields, but only pays R1 000 rent a year. The organisation said it could be used to build 2500 new homes.

Former mayor, and now Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille urged the City to impose tougher conditions when extending leases to golf courses. “The City does not understand how the government works. When I came into office, I worked through a plan set up by the former minister; my official plan that I set up myself will come into effect in April. The City must not look to the national (government) for land, they have their own land,” she said.

Cape Town activist Mario Wanza said: “We have engaged with the City and the SA Human Rights Commission because we want a moratorium on all developments around Cape Town, but they have not listened and this just shows that the City has no interest in the people on the Cape Flats.”

STOP COCT founder Sandra Dickson said: “If it is leased out for the same minimal amount as it was leased out for in the past, it is a questionable practice. Who stands to benefit from this lease? It is grossly unfair to rent out such a large piece of land to benefit only a few, while land is such a burning issue in our country.”

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus