Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers Photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Controversy shrouding the R64 million acquisition of land in Dunoon has continued with Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers saying the price was “much lower” than the valuation of the property.

GOOD party secretary-general Brett Herron alleged the province had paid more than double the market rate for the piece of land, as it fell within the “Black footprint” of Dunoon – out of sight of middle-class and predominantly white Table View.

Herron has written to the provincial legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the purchase. Simmers on Sunday said Herron’s comments were misleading.

“On the contrary, this is much lower than the valuation of the property. Besides Mr 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.

"Reckless comments such as these seek to stir up emotions and have the potential to lead to avoidable violent protests,” said Simmers.

Simmers said the property was acquired through the Housing Development Agency (HDA), as the province had no power to acquire immovable property in terms of the HDA.

The HDA acquired the 17ha Racing Park property and the deed of sale was signed in September 2018 at the market value of R64.6 million, which excludes transfer fees and holding costs, said Simmers.

Herron questioned the motivation for the purchase of the land, when the city had already acquired 72ha of land for Dunoon’s expansion and already owned 20ha of land in the area.

“At a meeting of the Standing Committee on Human Settlements last week, which the MEC did not attend, the head of department referred to the acquisition of this property as ‘very expensive’. 

"The diversion of funding from actually building housing, or acquiring land in areas where there is a severe shortage like in Masiphumelele and Hout Bay, to purchase land that is over-priced and not needed is a disgraceful set-back for speeding up housing delivery.

“The only possible explanation for this decision is that the land the province and City chose to purchase fell within the ‘Black footprint’ of Dunoon - out of sight of middle-class and predominantly white Table View. 

"The cost of the land and how long it would take to develop were of no concern,” said Herron.