CCG 'sets the record straight'

2017-09-27 06:01

AS a result of the articles which appeared in last week's local newspapers as well as the recent publicity involving the Concerned Citizens Group (CCG), it has become necessary to clearly and concisely reiterate the CCG’s position regarding the legal proceedings with KwaDukuza Municipality (KDM) and Double Ring Trading 7 (Pty) Ltd (DRT) in respect of the "Golf Course" development.
In May 2013, KDM advertised a tender calling for the "Performance of an Investigation on the Potential Usage of Council-owned Land" without mentioning the golf course at all, although the tender specifically required an “investigation” into the golf course.
A mere six months later, Tender number MN211/2013 was advertised which envisaged a partnership agreement between KDM and a preferred bidder for the construction of a mixed use development and new offices for the municipality at the cost of the developer. It is our view that KDM misled the public into believing that the development was intended for the golf course only and not the recreation ground and country club sports fields.

The successful bidder was DRT, who, subsequent to the tender being awarded, allegedly conducted geological surveys which supposedly found parts of the golf course unsuitable for development.
A meeting between the developer and various sports organisations then ensued with the purpose of acquiring the sports grounds, which is further indicative that the sports grounds were not included in the tender scope. Apart from the fact that the CCG contends that the sports organisations in question are mere custodians of the sports grounds and were and are unable to give “permission” to KDM or DRT for the acquisition of the sports grounds by DRT, the inclusion of the sports grounds in the tender in our view is a clear violation of government tender regulations as there was a significant and material deviation from the tender scope and specifications, necessitating a withdrawal or cancellation of the tender.

KDM, however, proceeded with the tender eventually resulting in the sale of public land for a reported and grossly undervalued amount of R9 million, which, in our opinion, is an illegal sale.
In addition, in terms of Chapter 3 of the Municipal Systems Act, municipalities must adopt a community participation process moreso when capital assets are disposed off.
Section 14 (2) of the Municipal Finance Management Act states that a municipality may dispose of a capital asset only when it has decided on reasonable grounds that the asset is not needed to provide basic services and it has considered the fair market value of the asset and the economic and community value to be received in exchange for the asset. KDM is clearly in violation of these statutes.
It must be stated upfront that CCG is not opposed to the construction of a mall, to investment in our town and to the creation of jobs. Such opposition would be contrary to its purpose and mandate.
The CCG is opposed to:

• the flawed municipal processes and tender procedures which led to the existing sporting facilities, arduously acquired during the apartheid era, being used instead of the "derelict" golf course on which the development was always intended;
• the unlawful and grossly under-valued sale of the land when this did not form part of the initial tender or agreement with the developer; and
• the manner in which the existing sporting facilities are being relocated and developed, supposedly without the necessary land transfers having been effected, financial arrangements being honoured and without the approved provision of alternate and new sporting facilities.
All that is visible at this stage is the upgraded cricket oval in Gledhow. There is no sign of the replacement facilities for volleyball, soccer, tennis, netball,
basketball, swimming and the second cricket oval.
It should also be clearly indicated that the high-court application by the CCG in February was a measure of last resort. This action was only pursued subsequent to the CCG making numerous attempts to constructively engage with the municipality and the developer and being denied lawful access to public documents that were requested. In fact, at these meetings it was indicated to the CCG that the municipality had reconsidered the financial viability of its proposed civic offices and would not be proceeding with its development.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the CCG is not being frivolous or vexatious and holds no personal gripe with Vivian Reddy. The CCG has never made any vile or disparaging comments towards Reddy. It is, however, unfortunate that Reddy has chosen to pursue and sue the CCG for perceived delays in the project and defamation of character.
The CCG's urgent application to halt the development was unsuccessful due mainly to the high court's rules regarding urgency.
Legal representatives for both KDM and DRT were clearly informed in court that they would be proceeding with the development at their own risk pending a judicial review. This is where the matter now lies with the hearing set down for October 11.
With regard to various newspaper articles and comments from DRT, it has constantly been reported that the CCG comprises disgruntled businessmen protecting their own interests. This is a convenient scapegoat for Reddy, but could not be further from the truth as it is blatantly evident when one looks at the composition of CCG members.
A number of them are not in business, but are retired sportspersons who are angered by the use of the sports grounds for the development.
It must be reiterated that these sports facilities were reserved only for white people during the apartheid era. It is many of these sportspersons who sacrificed their attention and time in arguing against a white-run municipality for the multiracial use of these facilities which eventually was achieved in the early 1980s.
It is extremely disheartening therefore that the ANC-led KwaDukuza Municipality has permitted and sanctioned what we perceive to be the usurpation of the sports grounds through a non-transparent and legally flawed process, thereby forgetting their anti-apartheid struggles and roots. KDM tenders are usually advertised in local newspapers.
However, the tender in question was not advertised in any one of the local newspapers. Opposition parties in Kwa-Dukuza have also remained silent from the time when the tender was being considered and even up until now.     It was reported last week that a local businessman is "continuing a lone battle" to halt the development.
This is factually untrue as members of the CCG fully support the latest court action. It was also reported that four CCG members claim they were misled into joining the initial court action.
This is an oddity since their names appear on all court papers. If this is true, this situation could, in our view, only have arisen due to the threat made to sue all CCG members which, our legal counsel has advised is a mere ploy to muscle CCG members out of the court action and is one that will not succeed in our courts.
It is also disingenuous for any person to make such a statement but to withhold the names of these allegedly “misled” members.
The CCG also does not take issue with Reddy's announcement to donate to charity any money awarded to him should he win in court. Since Reddy is so concerned with charity, should he not be making the very same donation even if he loses the matter in court?
It should thus be evident to all law-abiding and incorruptible citizens of our town that the CCG is vehemently trying to uphold the rule of law and due processes that must be adhered to when considering transactions of such nature.
The CCG has spent hundreds of thousands of rand in pursuit of the truth and will continue to do so, in the full knowledge that legal technicalities may well be an obstacle in the CCG’s quest for justice and fairness to prevail.

HAROON MOHAMMEDY
CHAIRPERSON - CCG

 

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