Unite Behind and Reclaim The City build shacks in the heart of the Cape Town CBD on a piece of land that was previously used as a parking space. Pictures: Brendan Magaar / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Growthpoint Properties are adamant their acquisition of Site B from the City of Cape Town was above board.

The property giant said it had no prior knowledge of building rights for the site, situated in the Foreshore, exceeding the 17500m² advertised by the City, and denied claims that the auction of Site B was botched.

“Growthpoint was a keen investor and prepared to pay more than any of the other bidders, as we believed the site held strategic value to us, given its proximity to three of our existing properties in the Foreshore,” said head of marketing and communication Nadine Kuzmanich.

When valuing the site, the company had taken into account its prime location, current and potential future property rights, and factors such as the shape of the site, and servitudes.

“It was always our intention to apply for additional (building) rights, and only in April 2017, after appointing our town planner, did we discover through public records that there were more bulk (allowed building magnitude) rights already attributed to the site. The City of Cape Town’s zoning records confirm rights of approximately 46000m² available to Site B,” Kuzmanich said.

Growthpoint have met officials of the City of Cape Town’s property management department, which undertook the auction of Site B. The officials were of the view that Growthpoint purchased Site B for a fair price, through a transparent and legitimate process.

Growthpoint have applied to the City for approval of development rights of approximately 46000m², and are awaiting a decision by the municipal planning tribunal. The application concerns the building of a mixed-use 100m building incorporating retail space, offices, collaborative workspace, and a hotel.

In September social justice advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi obtained documents the group said indicated that the auction of Site B was irregular, and that top City officials were implicated in this.

The City gave notice of an application by Growthpoint Properties to develop Site B, and the organisation noted that in the notice Growthpoint asserted it had the development rights of 46000m². Ndifuna Ukwazi said this pointed to a significant loss of income for the City.

Unite Behind and Reclaim The City build shacks in the heart of the Cape Town CBD on a piece of land that was previously used as a parking space. Pictures: Brendan Magaar / African News Agency (ANA)

Co-director at Ndifuna Ukwazi Jared Rossouw said Growthpoint, a company with R122 billion in assets, secured public land for a low price.

“They said they did not know the land was undervalued when they bought it and they think they paid a fair price... but Site B, goes to the heart of transformation and how this City council views and values land and who should benefit from it. Right now we need the City manager to publicise the terms of reference for the forensic investigation into the auction and set a deadline for its completion.”

Mayoral committee member for assets and facilities management James Vos said: “A forensic investigation is under way and it is being treated as a priority matter. Growthpoint’s application for development rights is being processed and due process will be followed.”

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Cape Argus