Gates close on Guptas

2017-06-06 06:01
An application for upgrades to the Gupta family’s property in Constantia is receiving criticism from the local residents’ association.PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

An application for upgrades to the Gupta family’s property in Constantia is receiving criticism from the local residents’ association.PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Cape Town - Members of the Constantia Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (CRRA) fear that if the Gupta family has their way they will settle in Constantia valley.

The association received a copy of the application in June last year that proposes changes to erf number 770 – 10 Dawn Avenue, Constantia.

The application was made by Sydney Holden town planners and property consultants on behalf of the owner, Islandsite Investments One Hundred and Eighty (Pty) Ltd, a company belonging to the notorious Gupta family. This company also owns the Guptas’ compound in Saxonworld.

The Constantia property, which belonged to Margaret Thatcher’s son Mark, was bought in 2005 for R17m but is currently valued at R13.5m on the valuation roll on the City of Cape Town’s website.

In a letter to the City by John Hesom, manager on behalf of the CRRA, and published on the association’s Facebook page, he says the application is out of place in the context of Dawn Avenue and Constantia as a whole.

“The property is located on top of a hill and is thus clearly visible from a variety of angles in the valley.”

People’s Post visited the site while there were a number of people on the property who looked like employees.

They confirmed that the property belonged to the Gupta family and that the family was not always there.

“They come and go. Maybe they come once or twice a month and leave. We usually see them when parliament is opening or when there is a budget speech. They come here and they have meetings and go.”

Planned upgrades include:

. A second house

. An apartment for a property manager, three staff and a chef in the main building

. Juice bar

. Function venue

. Replace the thatched roof with a new concrete roof

. Two new bathrooms in the gym

. A new bathroom next to the staff toilet

. A gatehouse and a generator room

Hesom says given the scale of these proposals and the number of bedrooms, they are concerned that the property will be used for purposes other than residential.

“This is an unusual feature for a single residential dwelling unit. Furthermore, the juice bar and the function venue are not compatible with a private home. It would appear that there is very little living space for a typical family.”

The CRRA had been asked to motivate for an interview at a municipal planning tribunal meeting.

“When the matter did not appear on the agenda that we were given for the 19 April meeting we assumed that it would be tabled at the May meeting. We submitted an interview motivation only to be told that the matter had in fact been dealt with by the tribunal meeting in April. At the tribunal meeting the application was unconditionally approved. The tribunal accepted the reasons put forward by the planner which includes that ‘the proposal will have a positive socio-economic impact’.”

CRRA has objected to the application.

“There is no reason to believe that we have been given the accurate and correct motivation for this redevelopment. Thus we suggest that a professional land surveyor be instructed to provide all the necessary boundary information. Thereafter, the actual purpose of this application should be divulged so that the proposal can be assessed with reference to the City Municipal Planning Bylaw and other planning policies. This will include reference to the surrounding environment and the desirability of such a structure in a single residential area.”

CRRA says they will bring the matter to the attention of councillor Penny East, chairperson of the area-based oversight committee (South).

East says the erf falls in ward 62, which is councillor Elizabeth Brunette’s area. She did not comment by the time of going to print.

Read more on:    gupta family  |  cape town

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