Cape Town - Human rights activist and former constitutional court judge Albie Sachs has added his voice against the City of Cape Town’s controversial R1 billion sale of land between Clifton and Camps Bay to private developers.
Sachs is the patron of Maiden’s Cove For All (MCA), a non-profit organisation established a week ago calling for the development of the Maiden’s Cove precinct to cease as it would exclude the economically marginalised from enjoying its natural beauty.
Sachs said the planned development would not only destroy the beautiful scenery of the precinct but would render Maiden’s Cove an exclusive space for the rich only.
“Maiden’s Cove has great historic meaning for the majority of Capetonians who were not allowed on to the beautiful beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay during the long dark years of apartheid,” he said.
“The City went to great pains to consult with the management of the tennis courts and bowling greens in the area, but never even bothered to engage with the people from the Bo-Kaap and the Cape Flats for whom Maiden’s Cove had become a place of magic and relaxation,” said Sachs
“I grew up in the area and hate to see an injustice being done.”
In April, the Bungalow Owners Association (BOA) approached the Western Cape High Court to set aside the sale of 5 hectares of land by the City of Cape Town to a consortium registered as K2015298271 South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
The city awarded the consortium the sale last September saying the proposed development would improve “public access to the beach, ocean and recreational facilities as well as protect the natural vegetation, enhance local and international tourism potential and unlock investment to drive job creation”.
However, the MCA and the BOA agree that the development would do the opposite.
Weekend Argus has reported that the developers intended building a 100-room hotel in the parking lot of Fourth Beach, 750 garages under the bowling greens at the Glen Country Club, 178 apartments in Maiden’s Cove, 54 bungalows on the Clifton tennis court site and field in front of the bungalow restaurant and a 3m boardwalk from Camps Bay over the rocks across the path in front of all the Glenbeach Bungalows.
MCA founding members include Janey Ball, Gary Steward and chairperson Vanessa September.
September said the organisation’s aim was “to preserve the public open space that is Maiden’s Cove and to increase, rather than reduce and limit, access to all, not just a privileged few to this pristine and environmentally and heritage protected public open space”.
“We would be happy to co-operate with the city to upgrade the area, but the starting point should not be how much money the city can raise from the sale and lease of the land. The focus should be on the preservation of this precious scenic reserve and on how public access can be enhanced for all,” she said.
She said they had briefed counsel to apply for the MCA to intervene as a party in the litigation
“The BOA has raised strong technical and procedural challenges to the tender awarded to private developers to develop the area between Clifton and Camps Bay including the Maiden’s Cove public open space. MCA supports this but also wishes to bring in the voices of the community,” September said.