ANC, DA lock horns over CT property
Cape Town - The ANC on Sunday said was concerned about reports that the DA-run Cape Town municipality planned to purchase land at double its reported value.
Independent property analysts had valued the land at no more than R50m.
But the municipality would pay R106m to media company Naspers, the current owner, the office of ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said in a statement.
The land, currently used as a parking lot, would be used to expand the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which the municipality had shares in.
"It is unacceptable and unfair to expect the public to pay more than double the value of the property," the ANC said, calling the deal "sinister" and "suspicious".
Motshekga's office would write to the public protector asking her to investigate the deal, it said.
Cape Town deputy executive mayor Ian Neilson called the ANC's reaction "the worst kind of political opportunism".
He said the convention centre's expansion would help make Cape Town a leading global conference and events destination.
"This in turn, will help drive economic growth and development and create much needed jobs for citizens of the city."
He said the amount offered by the city had been determined after extensive analysis by the city's own valuers, as well as by an independent valuer, and was in line with market prices.
"There is no doubt that the transaction can stand up to the highest level of scrutiny."
The municipality would co-operate with any investigations the public protector might institute, as it had nothing to hide, he said.
"The ANC would be better served by settling the R1.8m they still owe the CTICC," he said.
The party had failed to pay this amount even after a court order had been issued, and amounted to effective theft of public money by the ANC, he said.
"It is only the failure of ANC ministers of public works, one after the other, year after year, to engage over the availability of Customs House for the expansion of the CTICC, that led to the need to pursue an alternative site for the expansion," Neilson said.
*News24 is a Naspers publication