The old Conradie Hosptital. Photo Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - The provincial government has been blamed for the collapse of a property development on the site of the old Conradie Hospital with the developer claiming it was “frustrated” by the province’s unwillingness to assist with infrastructure.

The developer - Iliza Elitsha Investments, a consortium comprising BEE partners, Nedbank and Abland Property Development - was initially sold the 25-hectare property in Pinelands for R80 million in 2006. The consortium had paid a 10 percent deposit on the land at the time.

The land was sold under the watch of then-public works MEC Marius Fransman and the idea was to have it developed for upmarket and low-cost housing as well as office and retail space.

But after seven years of delays the land was transferred back to the provincial government in July last year. The Department of Public Works paid Iliza Elitsha R13m for the land last year.

Last month Public Works MEC Donald Grant said the department was revisiting the development and would be calling for proposals from interested companies.

His spokesman, Siphesihle Dube, had said that the land was taken back by the province because Iliza Elitsha “could not meet contractual obligations”.

But the BEE partners in the consortium, including Iliza Elitsha chairman Dibhesi Tuntubele, have hit back accusing Grant of “blatant lies” and “misleading” the public. The company denied claims that it did not meet its contractual obligations. It said an R8 million deposit had been paid in the required time. It was also incorrect to say that Iliza Elitsha did not have the money to complete the project.

Requirements of the development including impact assessments of the environment and traffic as well as a public participation process, had all been completed before the development was dogged by delays, Iliza Elitsha said.

The company said the province and the City of Cape Town had failed to address the need for an improved sewerage system and that it had asked the city to expand the capacity without success.

Instead, the company said, it was asked by the city to spend a further R20m to fund a road link up between Central Park Development and the N1 in order to unlock Wingfield. “The developers were held hostage in a sense, that should they not comply they would not be able to secure the Record of Decision,” the company said.

“It is therefore no surprise that the moment the province bought the land back the city suddenly approved the additional sewerage bulk infrastructure capacity which is currently being implemented. We will be watching this space and assure the DA government in the city and the province that we will expose their nefarious intentions and war on transformation.”

Department spokesman Al-Ameen Kafaar said the provincial government and the Iliza Elitsha had agreed last year in July on the termination of the sale.

The company had agreed to a settlement of R13m - their R8m deposit and interest accrued during the seven years the money had been with the department.

“The Western Cape government rejects in the strongest possible terms any allegations of collusion or obstructive actions on its part.”

City spokeswoman Priya Reddy said they were looking into the matter.

Cape Times