SJC objects to irrational sale of City land in Khayelitsha

FULL TEXT OF LETTER TO CITY MANAGER

22 April 2016

Att: Mr Thulani Madikane (City Manager’s Office)

Re: Objection to sale of portions of erf 564, Khayelitsha

1. The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is a democratic, public benefit and membership-based social movement. The majority of its members are working-class and poor individuals, most of who live in the informal settlements of Khayelitsha in Cape Town. The SJC has more than 2,000 members in 12 branches in Khayelitsha including RR1 Section, RR Nyanga, BM Section, BT Section, CT Section, SST, PJS, Nkanini, Green Point, Makhaza, Monwabisi Park and Zwezwe.

2. In accordance with its Constitution, the SJC is tasked, amongst other requirements, to advocate for the delivery of services and infrastructure through meaningful engagement and cooperation between affected communities and government.

3. The following objections to the proposed sale of erf 564 in Khayelitsha are on behalf of the organisation.

Lingelethu West Police Station

4. In August 2014 the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Police Inefficiency and a Breakdown in Relations between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Community of Khayelitsha (the Commission) made its final report, “Towards a Safer Khayelitsha” public.

5. Findings made by the Commission in relation to the physical infrastructure of Lingelethu West Police Station (that occupies a portion of the erf proposed for sale) included that “it has poor parking facilities, no holding cells, no exhibit store, inadequate space for detectives, a temporary “park home” for the victim friendly room, and no space for holding “parades”.”

6. In addition the Commission found that the three police stations in Khayelitsha – Lingelethu West, Harare and Khayelistha Site B, have to contend with structural understaffing. The absence of holding cells at Lingelethu West compounds the effects of this understaffing across all three precincts given transport and administrative requirements. Harare, the least resourced police precinct in the Western Cape, as a result, has the additional burden of having to detain the accused from Lingelethu West in its holding cells.

7. The Commission consequently recommended that SAPS take steps to improve the physical infrastructure of the Lingelethu West police station as a matter of urgency.

8. SAPS have not acted on this recommendation and no mention of Lingelethu West Police Station is made in SAPS’ long-term infrastructure or capital plans. This however doesn’t absolve the City of Cape Town. The Constitution requires that spheres of government must inform one another of, and consult one another on, matters of common interest. The safety and security of residents of Khayelitsha is hopefully of common interest and to this end SAPS needs to be supported and not hindered in improving its service to the people of Khayelitsha.

9. The sale of portions of erf 564 would consequently be irrational and counter to the principles of co-operative government and its requirement to secure the well-being of the people.

Government Immovable Asset Management Act, 19 of 2007 (“GIAMA”)

10. In order for the proposed sale to be approved the portion of the erf would have to be declared surplus. According to the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, 19 of 2007 (“GIAMA”) “surplus” in relation to an immovable asset owned by government, means that the immovable asset no longer supports the service delivery objectives of, in this instance, the City of Cape Town.

11. The City of Cape Town’s own Spatial Development Framework (SDF) argues for the creation of Civic precincts in which “social facilities and public institutions should be clustered together, at the points of highest accessibility.” Given the fact that erf 564 is zoned for utilities, has two existing public institutions and is situated on the single MyCiti bus route that services Khayelitsha, it is clear that the site is ideally situated for the SDF’s service delivery objectives.

Conclusion

12. The SJC having campaigned for the Khayelitsha Commission to ensure greater safety and security for the residents of Khayelitsha is working to ensure the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations. Recently we filed papers to compel the Minister of Police and the National and Provincial Police Commissioners to address the structural understaffing of the police stations in Khayelitsha and elsewhere. Success in the court on this issue would require more physical infrastructure and space to be made available for the court mandated requirements of the Lingelethu West Police Station.

13. The SJC therefore objects to the sale of a portion of erf 564 as the sale would hinder the ability of SAPS to ensure the rational and equitable resourcing of, and consequent future expansion of, the Lingelethu West Police Station.

14. In addition given the City of Cape Town’s own Spatial Development Framework it is clear that erf 564 is ideally situated for the furthering of the “civic precincts” service delivery objective making the proposed sale not only irrational but not in keeping with the Government Immovable Asset Management Act, 19 of 2007.

[ENDS]


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