South Africa

Cape Town slammed for blocking new developments in 144 areas

Cape Town has been slammed by businessmen and property developers for holding back new real estate developments in 144 areas because its sewage system cannot support them.

The city released a media statement last week saying that in some suburbs, permission for new developments to connect to the sewage system will have to await the completion of major upgrades to the capacity of wastewater treatment plants. from Potsdam, Zandvliet and Macassar.

A press release was issued on behalf of Xanthea Limberg, member of mayco for water and waste, and Marian Nieuwoudt, member of mayco for land use and the environment said: “To ensure sustainable development , it is necessary that these plants operate within the limits of existing capacity. while major upgrades are underway.

“Over the next three years, nearly 50% of the city’s R25 billion capital spending plan will be invested in water and sanitation infrastructure. The city is further planning a minimum investment of R 8 billion for major upgrades to the wastewater treatment works over the next 10 years. “

However, Jacques Moolman, president of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce and Industry, asserts that this “beautiful attempt at signaling virtue would have been better received if it had been done 10 years ago”.

“Then that would have proven that there were people on the board’s payroll who could think beyond the end of the month.”

He said the communiqué was signed by the heads of the two departments who “should have seen this bottleneck coming”.

“Until now, no one in city council had realized that the sewage system would soon be unable to keep up with developments?” Do those from the various departments in the Byzantine corners of the city’s bureaucracy talk to each other? Apparently not.

“Boasting about the number of plans adopted is something that council servants are good at. Reflection on the implications for the sewage system should have followed.

The city’s decision means that all plans for new construction in the more than 144 designated areas will have to wait for permission to lay a brick.

“That’s around 12 dozen individually listed areas, plus all of the suburbs of Gordon’s Bay, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, The Strand, Somerset West, Firgrove, Croydon, Faure, Macassar and the surrounding rural areas,” says Moolman.

Deon van Zyl, president of the Western Cape Property Development Forum, said the city’s announcement of its effective closure to investment in the Potsdam, Macassar and Zandvliet watersheds is “shocking”.

“The first practical reality is that this will stifle the real estate development and construction industries for the next three to six years, resulting in associated job losses and businesses (for which it will be the last straw). closing their doors. However, what is even more important is that we need to stop and think about what this will mean for the average Cape Town taxpayer. “

The same situation that saw electricity prices skyrocket due to Eskom’s continued underinvestment will now occur in Cape Town, he adds.

“The upgrades estimated at R 8.7 billion, which have been ignored for so long, will now cost taxpayers directly. In other words, it is the Capetonians themselves who will now have to pay for the upgrades.

“If development does not happen, then there is no increase in the tax base of new taxpayers who can help pay down the debt. This means that the burden of proof increases on the current taxpayer basis.

Van Zyl says that taxpayers should therefore prepare for substantial increases in tariffs or taxes on wastewater, or a combination of the two.

“It’s really Eskom happening in Cape Town. You can only ignore reality for so long.

While capacity improvements are underway at the processing plants in Potsdam, Zandvliet and Macassar, the city says there is a need to ensure sustainable development in the suburbs falling under the drainage areas of these three plants. However, he will still receive, evaluate and finalize development requests as usual.

Nieuwoudt says: “Since preparations for most major developments take years, we strongly recommend developers to go ahead and submit their applications to the city. Once they have the necessary approvals, this means there will be no delays and construction plans can be aligned for connection to the sewage system as soon as the new capacity of the treatment plant drains. specific water will be available.

She urges landowners and planning professionals to organize pre-request meetings with the city’s development management department so that they can be informed of the implications for their specific projects. Some projects will be allowed to go ahead.

Cape Town slammed for blocking new developments in 144 areas

SourceCape Town slammed for blocking new developments in 144 areas

Back to top button