September OCA Chair & Ward Forum 57 Reports by Tauriq Jenkins

September has been a busy month on all fronts for the OCA

RiverClub Basic Assessment Report Comment Objections

On Monday the 10th of September, Observatory residents registered over 400 objections to the River Club Basic Assessment Report.

We would like to thank all residents for your active intervention toward the protection of our precious environmental and heritage resources situated on the banks of the sacred Liesbeeck River. The objections were well articulated and we appreciate the time it took to produce.

Thanks are due to Leslie London of OCA’s Large Development Group, Marc Turok who is the OCA’s liaison to TRUPA, OCA Comms Edwin Angless, Frank Schuitermaker, for channeling the campaign online, and the online group administrators who championed the push. Also, our gratitude goes to the civics, such as Rosebank Mowbray, Bo Kaap, Pinelands, Woodstock, Oude Molen, the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, as well as, the First Nation’s sovereign councils across South Africa. All of whom we enjoy reciprocity and good relations with.

The issue on the River Club situated in TRUPA is of national and regional significance, and I cannot express enough how significant the role played by residents in this process has been. The environmental and heritage aspects related to this precinct are particularly intense. Our custodianship in place making alongside the protection of unique biodiversity in the Liesbeeck Valley contribute to a process of restoration rare in our country. We believe in the declaration of TRUP (including the River Club) as a National Heritage Site, and of World Heritage status.

International Reference to  Heritage Resource protection are as follows :

  • UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970)
  • UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Object (1995) UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001) UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
  • UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005). Article 8 Measures to Protect cultural expressions
  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples



  • The African Union Agenda 2063 (2015)
  • Charter for African Cultural Renaissance (2006)
  • The African Union Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries (2008)
  • The 2n d Pan-African Cultural Congress (PACC1) Report and Consensus Statement on The Inventory Protection and Promotion of Cultural Goods (2009)
  • The African Union Model Law on the Protection of Cultural Property and Heritage (2018).

National Legislation

  • The NHRA (Act 11 of 1999), section 2(xxi), describes ‘living heritage’ as intangible aspects of inherited culture that may include ‘cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory , skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge systems and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships’.
  • The White Paper on Arts, Culture, and Heritage (1996) states: “Access to, participation in, and enjoyment of the arts, cultural expression, and the preservation of one’s heritage are basic human rights, they are not luxuries, nor are they privileges.”
  • The South African National Department of Arts and Culture developed a Draft National Policy on South African Living Heritage which acknowledges the significance of South Africa’s intangible cultural heritage. Significant to intangible heritage is situated in terms of Clause 2 (xxi) of the National Heritage Resources Act.

Other policies that are relevant to the site include :

  • National Environmental and Management Act.
  • National Heritage Resources Act (25 of 1999)
  • Environment Conservation Act (73 of 1989).
  • National Development Plan (2011)
  • National Water Act (1998)
  • The Development Facilitation Act (no 108 of 1996) stipulates a number of principles, which apply in the Western Cape and have informed the preparation of the CTSDF and Table Bay district plan.
  • Integrated Urban Design Policy
  • Municipal Systems Act
  • The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) (2013)
  • Densification Policy
  • Provincial SDF (2013)
  • Cape Town SDF (2012)
  • Floodplain and River Corridor Management Policy
  • Management of Urban Stormwater Impact Policy
  • Table Bay Spatial Development Plan and Environmental Management Framework
  • TRUP Contextual Framework 2003 and Phase 1 Management Plan
  • Two Rivers Urban Park Local Area Sustainable Neighborhood: High-Level Development and Urban Design Concept.
  • TRUP Terms of Reference

The legislative hierarchy nationally with regards to the site are as follows :

  • National Development Plan
  • Provincial SDF
  • Table Bay District SDF and EMF
  • CapeTown SDF and IDP
  • Local Area SDF for the TRUP site
  • Detailed Precinct Plans
  • Site Development Plans

With its overarching appeal, and complex navigation, a coalition of civic, environmental, and cultural involvement, have been able to engage various public participatory forums to mitigate protections of TRUP. Support continues to build at an unprecedented scale of interest.

TRUP – A Story of Place

This is a  story of the first farms established, the fence by Riebeeck on either side of the Liesbeeck (which he named himself while owning one of the farms in Observatory). The 1510 battle fought against the Portuguese by the ancestors and local inhabitants of the Goringhaiqua. Stories of Oude Molen, at one time a former penal colony that housed under arrest Zulu King Kampande Cetshwayo and Valkenburg Hospital, The South African Astronomical Observatory together knit a chain of events, and developments that have irrevocably shaped our country and beyond its modern-day borders.

The etchings of Afrikaans emerged when the first slaves were deployed by the VOC to till the soil on Mostert’s farm and others. The beginnings of national diversity in all its variety. From transhumance to indentured labor, forced removals to innovative scientific breakthroughs, the space holds the ironies and paradoxes of our country. Its pain is intergenerational. Extinction of animal species and a major disruption in the eco-system would over time emanate from the establishment of the Freeburgher farms, which saw the advent of an iconoclastic agricultural and industrial push that is present today. However, its beauty is that it is a place. The place where one can say, ‘this is where it all started’. We are at the epicenter of meaning. Now, let’s make the world know!


Last week, I attended the 133rd AGM of the Rosebank Mowbray Civic Association on behalf of the OCA held at the Mowbray Townhall. It was the first time in decades that the meeting was held at the Hall.

Chair Jonathan Hobday stepped down after 25 years at the helm.

I went to listen to Mayco Member of Transport Felicity Purchase’s talk about the Taxi industry and other transport issues the area is facing.

She spoke of better regulatory systems being proposed to be City to reign in the problems relating both the drivers and the owners of the taxis. The problem seemed to stem from predatory transport practices against a failing national railway system. The taxis are the biggest mover of people in South Africa and in Cape Town.

Some future penalties for violations of being unregistered mentioned were R15 000 fines, 10-30 years imprisonment for vandalism to metra rail property, confiscation and destruction of the taxis. I asked about the City’s plans for the  Berkley Street extension, which seemed not to be on their immediate radar. I enquired on the fact the MPT are granting the building of large apartments with reduced parking, which is precipitating the traffic issue in Observatory, and the Mayco member agreed and said they were in dialogue on the issue of the MPT granting these concessions considering the fact carbon footprint is not being alleviated with the prevailing logic.


As part of a CAPP delegation, myself, Leslie, and Marc met with the Mayor last week. The issue of the proposed by-law was discussed and agreed was a workshop with the Mayor and the City officials leading a public participatory review with a ‘a community of practice’. From the workshop, we will work towards a model of co-design and community exchange while nominate representatives from the workshop to participate in the City-led workgroup.

Furthermore, the Mayor agreed at the meeting to meet in Observatory for a ward wide discussion dealing with issues affecting Observatory. The ward forum members and the OCA are ironing out the proposed dates with the Mayor’s office.

OCC AGM The OCA is calling for the AGM of the Observatory Community Centre this month. The agenda, date and time will be announced this week. All residents are invited to attend the AGM.


At the Ward Forum, various issues continue to be raised. These are :

  1. a) Malta Park / Hartleyvale
  2. b) River/TRUP
  3. c) the Observatory Community Centre
  4. d) how liquor license and sound applications are received and processed, as well as issues of
  5. e) seeming overreach by the Ward Councillor in interference and dissemination of untruths obfuscation, as well as, allegations of undermining of the OCA.
  6. f) ineffective minute taking at the Ward Meeting which results in gross misinterpretation of facts

When addressing the issue of overreach at the Ward Forum meeting last week, the Chair (Ward Councillor) silenced the complaint and stated it must be deferred to the Speaker and refused the report at the meeting. I formally objected to this and asked that the objection be reflected in the minutes. I will check on this when the minutes are released.


Tauriq Jenkins, OCA Chair