Even more food for thought on the matter of irregularities and shady relations the DA has with property developers in CT.
The more facts are revealed the more shady the dealings are.
For all those who defend the DA no matter what as infallible saints – take a moment to read these posts and see for yourself.
Cape Town – Controversy continues to swirl around the pending R135 million sale of the former Tafelberg school site in Sea Point, with allegations that a former Western Cape public works official actively discouraged the use of the property for affordable housing for personal gain.
Gary Fisher, the former deputy director general in the department of public works, is being accused of dissuading a social housing company interested in the Sea Point property in favour of other public properties, particularly the old Woodstock hospital.
In an e-mail to social housing company Communicare in March 2012, two years before provincial government issued an expression of interest for the Tafelberg site, Fisher wrote: “I believe you should focus your attention on the Woodstock site for the time being. The Tafelberg site exhibits mixed-use potential, which will no doubt include an element of housing.
“For this reason and the fact the area is under intense scrutiny by local ratepayers and other stakeholders, it is going to be a more drawn out process. Your quick win is Woodstock.”
In a follow-up e-mail, Fisher added: “We certainly believe for instance that housing should be the primary driver in developing the Woodstock site. This however may not be the case with respect to the Sea Point sites… I think you guys should concentrate your energy on sites that can really make a dent in the housing backlog such as Ottery, Stikland, etc.”
Fisher worked in the Public Works department from 2011, serving also as Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s adviser on urban regeneration by the time he left in 2014.
The Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre, which is representing the Reclaim the City movement in challenging the sale of the property to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School, said Fisher’s e-mails indicated the push for the sale of the site was “engineered” long before it went on the market.
In response, Fisher said on Monday all communications were directed by the regeneration programme mandate as endorsed by cabinet in September 2010. “In all my correspondence and interactions I was guided by that framework,” he said.
Fisher was involved in the expression of interest process to test the market for the sale of the Tafelberg site and three others, but left the department before the decision to sell and the tender was issued.
Capitalgro, a property investment group in which he was a non-executive board member at the time, bought two properties in the vicinity of the Tafelberg site – one worth R95m before he left office, and the other worth R97m, shortly after he left. Fisher is now the executive chairman of Capitalgro.
Ndifuna Ukwazi said Fisher’s involvement in the expression of interest represented a conflict of interest, because by selling the Tafelberg site, it would add value to Capitalgro’s investments.
In e-mails posted online by the amaBhungane Centre of Investigative Journalism, public works head of department Jacqui Gooch said Fisher declared his interests in Capitalgro while working in the department.
The sale of the Tafelberg property was halted by a court order in May to force the Western Cape government to re-open the public comment process.
More than 5 000 public submissions were received last month and Zille’s cabinet will now have to decide whether to continue or cancel the sale based on these submissions. Zille has denied any irregularities in the decision to sell the site.