MEDIA STATEMENT BY OVERSTRAND EXECUTIVE MAYOR, DR. ANNELIE RABIE, REGARDING THE SCHULPHOEK HOUSING PROJECT
During a Council meeting held on Monday, 21 February 2022 in the Hermanus Auditorium, Executive Mayor Annlie Rabie addressed Council on the Schulphoek Housing Project.
The Mayor’s speech, is published below:
Mr Speaker please allow me to make several statements regarding the Schulphoek Housing Project and specifically related to the following three matters.
• What type and kind of development it should be;
• Beneficiation; and
• Position of the interested and affected parties.
I want to state it categorically that to my knowledge there has never been any formal decision by Council on the type and kind of project that should be developed in Schulphoek. I am aware that there is support for the so-called mixed use housing methodology and some councilors may even have given their support publicly for this, but it remains a fact that there is no formal council resolution supporting this or in fact any type of development methodology in Schulphoek. This is a fact.
In term of beneficiaries, I find the number of e-mails and what’s apps with objections rather disconcerting as it is completely devoid of all truth and can be regarded as fake news, spread with the, in my view, malicious intent to evoke emotions unnecessarily. I agreed to changing the initial recommendation on the reconstitution of the Social Compact after a discussion I had with Advocate Edmund Wessels, who reminded me that there may be residents currently staying in Ward 7 that are on the waiting list and could probably qualify for a housing opportunity in Schulphoek. After I consulted with the ward councilor, Ms Lombard, she believed it this is not the case, but she will check this against the waiting list. However, there was unanimous agreement amongst my colleagues on the Mayoral Committee that Ward 7 should be represented on the Social Compact.
I can further confirm that following today’s Council meeting a further meeting will be held to re-assess the purpose and guidelines for a social compact which will be presented to Council for consideration. It should be noted that at present none of the minutes of the current social compact served before a council meeting as far as it can be ascertained.
My Council and I are fully aware of the detrimental impact of the delay in getting the project kickstarted specifically how it impacts on interested and affected parties property values in current estates such as Beach Club and any future developments adjacent to the Schulphoek area. There is also an awareness of the unsafe practice by children to use the road as a playground and the number of noise complaints from adjacent neighbours. It is my view that we can find solutions to all these matters only if we work together with all the stakeholders which will not be the case if we continue the current trajectory.
Coming to the plan of action that was drafted to kickstart this project. The Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) needs to sign the Land Availability Agreement (LAA) to take control of the site as they are not allowed take possession. Once the LAA is signed DoHS can continue with the planning for the development of the site and Overstrand Municipality will have no further role in this except for the approval of land use planning applications as it has already been announced that it would be a provincial priority project. I can give you the assurance that Council will do anything within its legislative powers to fast-track any applications should they be received. We are also aware of development proposals and plans already drafted. As soon as the LAA is signed and the DoHS enters the fray, these will be addressed by the technical committee. I can also confirm that nowhere in the documentation that served before Council today, any mention is made of the abolishment of the mixed-use development or that only serviced erven are considered. This is simply untrue. However, it is the constitutional responsibility of the Municipality to provide basic services to all its citizens and while we are waiting for the Schulphoek project to take shape I need to make sure that we give effect to this constitutional requirement. Hence, I will also be considering the temporary movement of the current housing units that are informally placed and where there are no services to serviced sites while we upgrade and service sites incrementally.
At my inauguration I stated that the Schulphoek project would be a project in my office as I want to make sure that I have a firm grip on the planning and subsequent monitoring and evaluation of progress. To do this, I must ensure that the project finds space within councils IDP and future budgets. Great was my surprise when we confirmed ourselves that no item served before council, and I am requesting the broader community of Overstrand not to jump to any conclusions and spread fake news and to rather ask for the facts. Henceforth these facts can be obtained from the ward councillor who will share it through the ward committee with the community.
It is correct that there is political instability brewing around the non-performance of both Overstrand Municipality and DoHS. Whether these perceptions are true or false, I cannot allow that it influence service delivery within these wards.
In conclusion. Mr Speaker I am requesting of you that the matter of the Schulphoek Housing Project be a standing item on every council agenda going forward.