In May 2015 the DA presented a report to Council relating to the Clifton development. I delivered this speech on behalf of the ACDP:
“The ACDP does not support this proposal and will not consider it until all the legal and policy expectations have been met and the public properly and truthfully informed.
We note the recommendations contained in the report but the following legal and policy concerns exist.
- The 1st of 4 guiding principles of the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations (MATR) is the Valuation principle – being the need to attach a value to the transfer or disposal of a municipal capital asset, in order to ensure that the interests of the municipality or municipal entity and of its stakeholders are not prejudiced by the transfer or disposal
- MATR 5.3(b) A request to the municipal council for authorisation of a public participation process (this report tabled in Council in May 2015) must be accompanied by information stating the actual valuation of the capital asset to be transferred or disposed of, and the method of valuation used to determine that valuation.
- Yet, there is no information provided that satisfies 5.3(b) – not in this report OR the report to Council in January 2015.
- The City officials dealing with this proposal confirm no valuation has been done yet. I have this in writing
- Since no valuation is presented to Council, recommendation (D) cannot be exercised – “any gain or loss by the municipality i.r.o the transfer or sale of the asset be included in the adjustment budget.” This legal expectation has not been satisfied either. The City’s adjustment budget that was presented to council in August 2015 made no clear mention of the value of the gain or loss to council should this property be transferred or sold.
- This is most certainly a “high value” asset, which MATR defines as ‘fair market value exceeding R50million’. MATR prescribes more onerous steps for the process of disposal of a high value asset, which have also been ignored
- Public comments recorded in meetings held so far are instructive yet are also being ignored. These include:
- A lack in adequate information being provided to the public so members of the public can express an informed view
- No feasibility studies have been undertaken and no information has been provided to the public.
- Traffic congestion will be worse not better. Traffic planners confirmed this principle i.r.o the upgrade of Main Rd Muizenberg to Fish Hoek
- The wastewater (sewerage) treatment plan is crucial and must be emphasised. Capetonians are well aware that thousands of litres of raw untreated sewerage is pumped out into the Atlantic ocean at several points located between the V&A Waterfront and Hout Bay. Pumping all this additional sewerage from this development into the Atlantic will worsen the already appalling marine situation.
- City officials closely linked to this proposal confirmed to the ACDP that:
- The reports to council and the process already undertaken was not ready to go public – it was forced on them by political pressure.
- The City is still developing the urban design framework.
- The required valuation has not been done yet because the urban design framework must be done first.
- The required botanical survey has not been done yet
- The required heritage study has not been done yet, yet the 1948 proclamation does exist and is valid.
- The required transport impact study has not been done yet
- The required zoning processes has not started yet
- This proposal is very likely to not comply with the City’s scenic drive policy and the City’s coastal edge policy
- I was also informed that the City’s CFO is aware of the shortcomings in the process and the report, but it has been determined that proceeding with the proposal notwithstanding these legal and policy shortcomings is considered “acceptable risk” and that the public could take the City to court, but by the time it emerges in court the City will be able to defend itself.