Treasury 'misunderstands' Tafelberg property sale – Western Cape govt

2017-04-18 19:38
Sea Point workers protest outside the Western Cape Department of Public Works offices in Cape Town. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Sea Point workers protest outside the Western Cape Department of Public Works offices in Cape Town. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town – National Treasury has “misunderstood” the Western Cape government’s reason for selling the Tafelberg property in Sea Point, the Western Cape government said on Tuesday.

 “There was no single reason for the decision, but a range of reasons, as we have repeatedly stated before,” Premier Helen Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu said in a statement.

“[We have] noted with concern the misunderstanding by Treasury, of the reasoning for the decision to release the Tafelberg site.”

Treasury said the decision to sell the property was in stark contrast to official policy statements about the need to re-integrate urban areas to undo apartheid-era spatial planning.

The apparent decision to use the proceeds of the sale to fund administrative offices, rather than more immediate and pressing social needs, seemed inappropriate, Treasury said in a statement on Friday.

The provincial government said the decision to sell the Tafelberg property followed the outcome of national salary negotiations. Treasury had instructed provinces to investigate how and where their budgets could be reprioritised to accommodate new baseline reductions, Mpofu said. 

The department of transport and public works was asked to find ways of using some of its existing properties to help balance the budget, in accordance with the Treasury’s instruction.

In a letter addressed to Treasury, the province said the money from the sale would be used to build provincial education offices in a private-public partnership. 

“[We are] currently leasing offices and parking at the Golden Acre and Grand Central for use by the Western Cape Education Department at a cost of approximately R8.5 million per month,” the letter reads. 

In March, the provincial cabinet decided to sell the Tafelberg property, in Sea Point, to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day school for R135m. 

Activists from Reclaim the City had been occupying the Helen Bowden Nurses Home and Woodstock Hospital since March 25, in protest against the sale. Reclaim the City wanted the Tafelberg property to be turned into affordable housing. 

“[The] province, like the colonial and apartheid governments before it, has ensured that the beneficiaries of racial discrimination, who are mostly white people, continue to access, own and occupy our well-located public land,” the organisation said in a statement at the time. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  local government

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