DA Claremont councillor Ian Iversen has spoken out for the first time since he was involved in a scuffle with a Wynberg resident last week, saying it was “utter provocation and aggressive behaviour” which led to him losing his cool.
Iversen was reluctant last week to comment on the incident in which he was recorded pushing his fist into Wynberg resident Darron Araujo’s throat.
Araujo was trying to question Iversen on controversial rezoning applications which the city approved despite widespread objections from residents.
Speaking to the Cape Times yesterday, Iversen also answered claims on whether he received donations from applicants in controversial rezoning applications.
Earlier, Claremont resident and neighbour to Greenways boutique hotel, Simon Mantell, said a city committee ignored residents’ objections to the hotel being rezoned which would allow owners to build up to three storeys and would have an impact on traffic if more guests were accommodated at the hotel.
He said Iversen favoured the Greenways application as he had his wedding there and received a donation from the owner, Susanne Faussner-Ringer.
But Iversen was not part of the committee which decided on the Greenways application.
He also said his wedding was not hosted at Greenways but at a Claremont church hall.
Iversen also confirmed to the Cape Times that the only donation he received from Faussner-Ringer was when she donated platters of sandwiches for the annual rates rebates meeting with elderly residents.
Mantell said he tried to ask Iversen on numerous occasions whether he received donations from Faussner-Ringer.
Commenting on the incident with Araujo last week, Iversen said: “It was utter provocation and an ambush. We went about the normal process to do a site inspection at Mr Mantell’s house and Mr Araujo came and started screaming at us. It was impossible to continue with our site inspection.” He added: “They achieved what they wanted – to cause me to lose my temper. I shouldn’t have but I was totally provoked.”
The subcouncil was conducting a site inspection at Mantell’s house for his gabion (retaining walls) which the city says was built illegally.
Faussner-Ringer told the Cape Times that Mantell had been involved in constant fights with her. She showed the Cape Times a letter from 2008 when Mantell bought his plot where he stated that Greenways hotel was a “wonderful asset” as a neighbour.
Faussner-Ringer said: “He was thrilled about having us as a neighbour but then he wanted to go into a joint venture to build a security development of between 10 and 15 homes but Greenways is all about trees and such a development would have meant cutting down a lot of our trees.”
Asked about his previous letters supporting Greenways, Mantell said: “Knowing what I know now about businesses in residential areas, I would not have said that.”