The Princess Vlei Forum would like to express our concern around the alleged irregularities and possible corruption in the development bid for Princess Vlei.
After extensive research on the relevant documents, Forum member Kelvin Cochrane has revealed that:
- The acceptance of the bid by Insight Property Developers (Cape)was premised on an independent Environmental Impact Assessment
- The Environmental Impact Assessment was undertaken by Tshukudo Environmental Services between 2002 and 2004. Amongst the members on the board of Tshukudu were Alfred Peter Loebenberg, Peter Anthony Stiles and Dudley Janeke.
- On 5 July 2002, Janeke signed an oath stating that his company had no connection with or interest in Insight Property.
- However, it has emerged that at this time, Stiles and Loebenberg had been board members of Insight Property Developers
- Tshukudu was subsequently liquidated in 2005. Insight Property Developers was listed as one of the creditors.
Cochrane has details of further irregularities. This information has been given to the NPA to investigate with a view to charges laid.
On Tuesday, Cochrane met with Councillor Jeremiah Thuynsma, Chairperson of Subcouncil 9 and a member of SPELUM. Thuynsma who has undertaken to lodge the claim with the Public Protector.
In relation to these irregularities, we would like to note:
- We call on the Municipal and Provincial authorities to investigate these irregularities thoroughly, and take the necessary action should any evidence of corruption, fraud or dishonesty be revealed. Given our local government’s strong stand on corruption, we trust that they will not award a development bid that is compromised by any suggestion of dishonesty.
- These irregularities have been revealed through the efforts of a private citizen. This highlights the value of committed and zealous civic action and citizenry in safeguarding our natural treasures and in unearthing corruption.
- This case highlights again the importance of a local and provincial government that is responsive, transparent and accountable. We have found it difficult obtaining clarity from MEC Bredell and Mayor Patricia de Lille on the status of the development bid, on the processes that still need to be followed and the conditions that still need to be met. We appeal again for greater transparency on this matter. We would also like to take this opportunity to highlight again the need for more meaningful public participation in critical planning decisions.
- We know that there are members of the City Council who have been opposed to the development bid from the start, and that the City Councils spatial planning, environment and land use management committee (Spelum) effectively terminated this bid by declining to extend the rezoning of the land. This decision was later overturned by MEC Anton Bredell
- The SPELUM committee took this decision after consultation with the community and reconsidering the compelling case against commercial development of the site on social, environmental and cultural heritage grounds.
- We have worked closely with the City Council in efforts to rehabilitate the site, and look forward to an ongoing partnership of collaboration in developing the site in a way that safeguards and honours the cultural and environmental value.
- The Princess Vlei experience has demonstrated the power of civic action in empowering communities to reflect on the value of their public assets, and to assert their right to grow and protect these assets for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
- We believe that this case holds lessons for all Capetonians, and encourage our fellow citizens to be vigilant and zealous in safeguarding all our natural and cultural heritage sites.