In response to the many posts regarding the Hermanus Country Market that are circulating on social media, it is prudent for the Municipality to address the matter, which we do here without prejudicing any of our rights.
At the public meeting, which was held on 6 February 2023, the Mayor clearly stated that “Unfortunately laws and regulations cannot change.
The market is not compliant; they do not have a lease, no approved building plans, no fire certificate, no population certificate and no evacuation plan and the insurance expired last year. We need to get the representative around the table to decide a plan of action with timelines on the way forward”.
Following the above, a Hermanus Country Market Steering Committee was created, consisting of representatives from the Hermanus Country Market and Overstrand Municipality respectively and a representative of the Hermanus Sports Club. This committee has had four meetings to date to discuss and monitor the progress with the matter. Despite these meetings, up to date and nearly two and a half months later, the Hermanus Country Market (via the Hermanus Sports Club as the tenant of the Municipality), has:
- Failed to submit a detailed motivated application and clear site development plan for the sublease to them as was requested on several occasions, to enable the Overstrand Municipality to follow the prescribed processes, which includes a public participation process. In this regard the lease agreement between the Overstrand Municipality and the Hermanus Sports Club is quite clear as to consent having to be obtained before any sublease is entered into.
- Not finalised a lease agreement with the Hermanus Sports Club to be incorporated in the application for approval. As was stated, the lease agreement with Ms van Coppenhagen expired in 2021.
- Not adequately addressed the illegal use of municipal land (outside the lease area of the Hermanus Sports Club), which had to be vacated in 2022 when the lease application was not approved, and no appeal was submitted on the outcome.
- No submitted a request for submission of building plans for the illegal tent.
- Not submitted an amended, acceptable engineers’ certificate for the illegal tent on municipal land, the responsibility to obtain same being with them and not the Municipality.
- Not formally submitted building plans for the illegal tent erected on municipal land.
- Not made any substantiated effort to become compliant as was requested and advised on several occasions.
- Been selling liquor without a valid liquor licence issued to the Hermanus Country Market (Pty) Ltd.
Until date hereof, the only progress made by the Hermanus Country Market (Pty) Ltd is to:
- Appoint a consultant to assist them with the necessary processes.
- Submitted indemnities given by the traders at the market.
- Provided a proposed time frame to become compliant with a proposed layout. No formal application has however been submitted.
- Start addressing the illegal use of a third party’s liquor licence only when they were investigated by the Western Cape Liquor Board.
What is of utmost importance is the required public participation process with regards to the new site development plan and possible necessary change to the land use of the area as the Overstrand Municipality was informed that the Hermanus Country Market (Pty) Ltd is envisaging using the area not only as a market, but to extend the use to functions, weddings, music festivals, etc., being commercial activities in nature, which is not in accordance with the main purpose of the existing lease of the area to the Hermanus Sports Club, the latter being sport and sports related.
Not only will such an extended lease affect the current lease to the Hermanus Sports Club, but also the envisaged further development of the Hermanus Sports Club as per the approved site development plan, taking into consideration the investment the Municipality has also made in the development of the sports centre on behalf of and to the benefit of the whole of Overstrand and not just a selected group of people.
It must be noted too, that the market was originally approved for 60 traders and without following any the required processes, the market was extended to approximately 120 traders.
This means that any approvals obtained in the past are also transgressed and will have to addressed, whether the application is on the current site, or the site as indicated on the approved site development plan.
As further mentioned, the Mayor may not, in terms of legislation, get involved in or interfere with administrative processes and even more so, cannot and will not ignore legislation and the required processes to be followed. It should also be taken into consideration that she will in most instances be the appeal authority in most of the decisions to be taken by the delegated authority in the Administration of the Overstrand Municipality. Involving her in this matter will impede any right to appeal the applicant has in terms of the relevant legislation. This having been communicated to the Hermanus Country Market (Pty) Ltd.
Lastly as to the allegations made that the Municipality only informed the Hermanus Country Market (Pty) Ltd on Friday 14 April 2023 that no further trading will be allowed, is incorrect as the letter sent dated 30 March 2023 clearly stated that no further consents/concessions will be issued until such time certain conditions are met. Despite these conditions not being met, a request was received on 14 April 2023 for a consent to trade, which was not granted. The Municipality is at this stage not going to respond to each and every allegation and/or comment made by Mr Bayer and this must not be interpreted as an admission thereof but rather a denial.