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Bo-Kaap set for court battle over ‘monster building’

File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 20, 2020

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Cape Town – The Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association is preparing for the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) tomorrow, where they will challenge a decision to dismiss their application against a “Monster Building” in their historic suburb.

“The Monster Building, as it is known to the people of the Bo-Kaap and to those who support the preservation of our precious built and cultural heritage, is a development proposal to build a 60m high mixed-use building.

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“This proposal has been met with massive resistance from both the people of the Bo-Kaap as well

as supporters from around Cape

Town and the globe, with more than

1 200 individual objections being logged.

“We view this case as having a potential domino effect. If allowed to go ahead, it paves the way as a precedent for a wall of 60m high-income developments to be built along Buitengracht Street, effectively cutting off Bo-Kaap from the City, thus reinforcing the buffer zone mentality of apartheid spatial planning,” the association said yesterday.

They alleged that no public participation ever took place, and they only heard about the plan after it had been approved.

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“More tellingly, we have been unsuccessful in trying to find out more information from City officials and have been referred to file a PAIA application (Promotion of Access to Information). We haven’t even been allowed to see the plans.

“We have many questions: How could the City officials approve a highly-contentious application like this in the middle of a court case where they are the main respondents?

“We note that the National Building Regulation Section 7 is clear in that if a building is objectionable and will negatively impact the surrounding area and community, then the decision-maker has the

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right not to approve the application,” they said.

The City and the developer did not respond to questions by deadline.

Residents have for several years been concerned over gentrification

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of the area.

The Western Cape High Court had previously ordered the SA Human Right Commission to facilitate talks between developers and disgruntled Bo-Kaap residents after protests in

the area.

Cape Times

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