Pretoria - A legal fight between the City of Tshwane and a developer over a project to refurbish the dilapidated Schubart Park complex has seemingly ended.
The metro has announced that it reached a settlement, which would see at least 75% of the property returned to it.
For years, the municipality and the developer Tsoseletso Consortium have been embroiled in a legal wrangle over the legality of the deal concluded during the ANC-led administration.
The DA took issues with the deal because it believed it was facilitated “outside the scope of council and outside the scope of the law”.
MMC for Corporate and Shared Services, Kingsley Wakelin, said the City wanted to secure back the property to restore it.
“A key property in Pretoria is Schubart Park, and we have now reached a settlement with the developer, which will see 75% of the property returned to the City as it was wrongfully included in the original transaction.
“The City will now work on plans to see this property restored to its former glory,” he said.
He said council approved a number of property transactions that would promote affordable inner-city housing and mixed-use development, space for an early childhood development centre (ECDC), the resolution of the Schubart Park matter and the expansion of the Tshwane North TVET college.
The move was part of the City’s drive to unlock development within its borders through strategic property releases that will benefit residents.
Wakelin said: “Vacant properties in the inner city have now been approved for long-term lease through a competitive bidding process for a developer to create a mixed-use development that will focus on social housing.”
An unused plot of land in Refilwe Manor, he said, would be leased for the development of an ECDC.
Tshwane North TVET College in Mamelodi would also receive title deeds for the land to enable them to start upgrades and expansion.
Any partners who see an opportunity to lease municipal-owned land that would promote social and economic development can contact [email protected].
Initially, the Schubart Park project formed part of the West Capital development, a mixed-use residential project envisaged on the western outskirts of the CBD, including Marabastad.
The City then planned to refurbish buildings in terms of designs that would adapt them into a modern-day mixed development precinct, including social housing and rental.
In 2017, the previous Economic Development and Spatial Planning oversight committee visited the complex and discovered that the contractor had not started the renovation work.
The committee then recommended that the City revoke the contract, but the developer approached the court to contest the move to terminate its contract.
Tsoseletso Consortium was supposed to take approximately 18 months to complete the project, according to a report compiled by the committee at the time.
In 2012, the Constitutional Court ordered the City to refurbish the complex and reinstate its residents to their former homes after the metro had evicted them in 2011, saying the complex was unsafe for occupation.
More than 500 residents were relocated by the city to various buildings, which included Parkview units in Sunnyside and in Pretoria North suburbs.
It emerged in 2021 that the City was paying at least R1 700 for each resident housed in the buildings.
The then oversight committee expressed concern that the City was spending millions of rand every year for the accommodation of former Schubart Park residents instead of refurbishing its buildings.
Schubart Park, which consists of four towers, was built in the 1970s as part of the government’s subsidised rental scheme for the benefit of public servants.