TRUPA Response to the Argus article on the 16 April 2020

“R5bn River Club ‘redevelopment comes to an end after tribunal ruling”

NEWS | Marvin Charles | 16 April 2020

It is so common that journalists get complex issues wrong!
The headline in the Argus article by Marvin Charles, on 16 April stated:

“R5bn River Club ‘redevelopment comes to an end after tribunal ruling”

The facts are different!
Firstly there has not been any redevelopment on the River Club site… only wild fantasy hopes to obtain development rights that the owner of the property does not have and should not be granted!

Secondly, the site is part of the Two Rivers Urban Park, zoned as open space for Conservation of the Environment and it is noted as a highly significant Heritage area and the issue that has just received a ruling from the Tribunal after two years of unfounded time-wasting is that all the stated ground for appealing were ruled not valid!

It has taken two years to arrive at this ruling that recognizes the Provisional Protection put place by Heritage Western Cape in terms of section 29 of the National Heritage Resource Act is upheld and that it shall remain in force and that the Appeals lodged by the Developers, supported the City of Cape Town and two Provincial Departments (DEA&DP and DT&PW) are dismissed!

This is indeed an important victory for all I&AP’s including concerned First Nations Representatives, Civics, TRUP Association, Environmental NGO’s and many others who have strongly opposed non-compliant and inappropriate invasive so-called ‘development proposals’ for the River Club site that are not desirable and rejected them, for many good reasons, one being that this Sacred Site in TRUP  is a highly significant HERITAGE resource that should be protected and urgently GRADED as a Provincial Heritage site while further research is done to demonstrate its National and World Heritage qualities that also need protection.

The Ruling recognizes HWC’s decision to further research and protect this heritage quality and to permanently protect the site and dismiss the appellants who used all their wealth and power to undermine that and failed up to now, but permanent protection still needs to be formally set in place! What needs to be corrected is that LLPT’s unrealistic and undesirable development hopes are not yet ended. Even while our vast numbers who are insisting on Heritage Protection have been vindicated in our struggle, we still need to achieve our goal that the site is properly graded.

We are also aware the LLPT has not faced the fact that they have no rights to anything they hope to build on the flood plain and note that they continue to pursue the same unacceptable destructive goal together with their collaborators, totally disregarding the clarity of the ruling.

There appears to be reluctance on LLPT’s side to give up as they still somehow think that maybe DEA&DP may approve their HIA/BAR applications and also seem out of touch to think that the ‘TR LSDF’ documents may get approved as may the rezoning applications, with the Appellants City of CT being the authorities to assess the applications!

With the recent ruling and the recently submitted new application for Provincial Heritage Grading that seems more likely to get formal Permanent Heritage Protection recognized when that is achieved. We must hope that it will now be less likely that other departments will be able to ignore this recognized status that has serious recognition.

Nevertheless, the struggle is not over until LLPT’s self- interested destructive intent to disregard existing well consulted Spatial Development Framework, is in line with our common manifesto principles that guide this unique heritage site!

Clearly, we all who celebrate the ruling need to recognize that the intense struggle has to continue until the destructive intent is flattened and our COMMON GOOD HERITAGE PRESERVATION & CONSERVATION victory is certain!

Marc Turok – TRUPA Chair

Our Petition on the River Club remains open as the BAR is still under consideration by the DEADP. Please do encourage your friends to continue to sign on because DEADP needs to know that this proposal is dead-p in the water of the Liesbeek.

Sign the petition HERE

Some of the comments of our supporters in response to the great news:

  • Well done and congratulations. The kind of public participation rigor you have established in this campaign shows what an active, engaged public is capable of.
  • Jeepers! That’s amazing.
  • Thank you to all that worked towards this extremely satisfying result. It gives me hope that not all is lost with Heritage Western Cape …
  • Brilliant!!!
  • This appears a long haul struggle, well done to all for hanging in there, more than that, for struggling on.
  • Thank you for your perseverance with this
  • The whole world has not gone mad after all, thank you so much for persevering with the good fight and huge congratulations, Leslie et al!
    May this serve as a landmark ruling that communities can use to push back against big corporate interests. The battle has been won, but the war is indeed far from over…
  • Wonderful outcome. Magnificent work done by all concerned – thank you!
  • Great outcome, Leslie and all. But remain vigilant!
  • Congratulations – a wonderful outcome!

Please help us to show that even during COVID-19, South Africans and supporters around the world will stand up for what is right.