Have your say on Tafelberg sale

2016-05-24 06:00

There has been a great deal of publicity around the proposed sale by the Western Cape Government of the Tafelberg School Property on Main Road, Sea Point.

The Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School (PJJDS), a non-profit community school, was selected as the winning bidder for the purchase in November last year. PJJDS submitted its bid in terms of a public tender and was selected based on the merits of its bid.

Earlier this year various groups began a protested the sale. Their main contention is that Province should se this land for affordable housing solutions.

In response and based on a negotiated court order, the Western Cape Government has now re-advertised the proposed disposal for comment from the public.

This process is not only for those opposed to the sale but also those in support. It is important the public understand the many benefits the sale will bring.

Some of these benefits include:

. Proactively breathing fresh life into the Tafelberg School Property which has been vacant and derelict for a number of years;

. Restoring and revitalising the neglected historic school building for re-use as a non-profit community school;

. Preserving and enhancing the magnificent heritage aspects of the property;

. Addressing the critical shortage of space for independent and community school facilities for the growing demand on the Atlantic Seaboard. Tafelberg is one of the few, if not only, remaining available and appropriately zoned sites for a school in the area;

. Attracting further investment into the Sea Point area with consequent employment creation and economic growth benefits in the area;

. Unlocking value for the Province from the Tafelberg School Property at a premium price based on high land values in the area. These proceeds can be applied by Province to fund social delivery initiatives in the Province and the city (including possibly into the area of affordable housing). Similarly for the City in terms of an enhanced rates base;

. Creating educational, cultural and recreational facilities for the benefit of the community and the broader base of Sea Point residents and visitors to the area;

PJJDS has set up an online petition to encourage and facilitate the public to voice their support.

The public can go online and sign our petition which we will submit to Province as part of the public comment process. Alternatively people can write directly to Province with their comments.

We do believe that access to affordable housing in the city is critical in building a successful city that provides opportunities for all of its citizens and which fosters integration and social cohesion. However we are led to understand that, for a variety of reasons, not least the high land value and also the heritage aspects of the site, the Tafelberg School Property is not well suited for affordable housing and that other city-wide solutions are available and would be more optimal. This is ultimately for Province to decide.

We believe that the sale of the Tafelberg School Property to PJJDS is a win-win for all stakeholders including those that want to see value unlocked to fund social delivery in the city

To participate in the online petition, visit www.petitions24.com/support_sale_of_tafelberg_to_pjjds

To submit a public comment directly to the Western Cape Government, write to the Chief Director: Immovable Asset Management, 4th Floor, 9 Dorp Street, Cape Town 8001 not later than Friday 3 June.

Lance Katz, Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School vice-chairperson


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