Union, City of Cape Town locked in court battle over Good Hope Centre

2016-05-17 11:10


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Cape Town – The SA Clothing Workers Union (Sactwu) and the City of Cape Town are locked in a court battle over the future of the centrally located Good Hope Centre.

The union, and possibly civic organisations, ultimately want the Western Cape High Court to review the City’s decision to lease the centre to a film company.

Before it could launch a review application, the union said it needed to do more background research.

In the interim, it was applying for an urgent interdict to stop the City from making any structural changes or entering into fresh leases pending a decision on its future use.

In an affidavit, Sactwu co-ordinator Fachmy Abrahams said unions of garment workers had been holding the Spring Queen Pageant at the centre since it opened 40 years ago.

The pageant was incorporated into their fashion festival and "proved immediately to be immensely popular" by attracting at least 10 000 people.

In 2014, only half this number could be accommodated because the mezzanine level was closed.

A film company block-booked the centre last year and the union had to hold its pageant at the Athlone stadium.

Abrahams said the stadium presented public transport and safety concerns. 

He said outsiders robbed attendants at knifepoint.

"The use thereof proved to us that it is simply not a suitable venue for the pageant."

The Cape Malay Choir Board, which represents about 28 singing groups, had also held its competitions at the centre for a long time.

'There is a cultural heritage'

Board chairperson Shafick April told News24 last year that they planned their annual competition at the centre a year in advance.

It usually attracted between 4 000 and 5 000 people, some from overseas.

He said Malay choirs had been singing their hearts out at the formalised competitions in the city for 75 years.

"There is a cultural heritage that we have and a tradition we are upholding."

The board, along with the District Six Working Committee, intended joining the union in its review application.

Sactwu's concern in the meantime was that changes to the centre could well be irreversible and make it unfit for use as a public venue.

Its application for an interim interdict was to have been heard on Monday.

However the City gave notice of its intention to oppose the application, confirmed tourism, events and economic development mayoral committee member Garreth Bloor.

He said the City had 15 days to file an answering affidavit.

Read more on:    cape town  |  local government

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