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Ratepayers Association responds to allegations

Category General News

The Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (SFBRRA) has recently received allegations that the Executive and Planning Committees have been taken over by property developers.

“The SFBRRA Executive Committee (ExCo) rejects out of hand the allegations made by certain parties who are clearly determined to undermine the efforts of our volunteer ExCo members. We are totally committed to serving the best interests of the 8,500 ratepayers in our area,” said SFBRRA Chairperson Marco van Embden.

“The SFBRRA ExCo is made up of volunteers who are elected annually at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is open to the public to attend and members to vote. All members of ExCo are voted in for a single one-year term at the AGM,” outlines van Embden.

“As a ratepayers’ association, our focus is on the following key deliverables -  neighbourhood security, cleanliness, social upliftment in conjunction with Straatwerk, events & permits, planning matters, interaction with the Ward Councillor and liaising with city departments as and when appropriate,” explains van Embden.

Councillor for Ward 54, Shayne Ramsay, commented; “Ratepayer Associations are formed to monitor and protect the interests of residents and businesses. The SFBRRA has been instrumental in providing employment for many otherwise destitute homeless people via Straatwerk which simultaneously gives the workers some dignity whilst cleaning our streets and beaches.”

Van Embden highlights that the current ExCo is made up of volunteer members, elected at the AGM, who have a track record in civic and communal work which, in many cases, runs into decades of service. The members are drawn from all walks of life with one common goal – the betterment of the residential area.

A subcommittee of the SFBRRA ExCo is the Planning Committee. “This Committee has absolutely no regulatory authority. Neither does it have any control over Council’s decision-making process. It exists only to consider planning applications for private and public space, and to provide comment on heritage considerations, title deed amendments and land use applications, or to provide general assistance to owners and residents of the area to ensure all developments comply with regulatory approval,” explains van Embden.

Cllr Ramsay provides clarification regarding processes with the City of Cape Town.; “Plans are submitted to the City of Cape Town for approval. If there are any applications for departures from the zoning scheme, then this needs to be advertised and all affected parties notified. If there are any objections, both the applicant and the objector have the opportunity to be heard by independent town planners for adjudication at the Municipal Planning Tribunal. Comments from all affected parties are taken into consideration, but submissions by the SFBRRA would not sway the City Planning Committee.”

Current members of the SFBRRA Planning Committee include two architects, a town planner, a developer, a retired businessman and an attorney. “They offer relevant professional skills and extensive experience in terms of planning matters,” says Lauren Bolus, Acting Chairperson of the SFBRRA Planning Committee.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Planning Committee has no regulatory control, good governance dictates that there be clear rules in place to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Without exception, all members of the Planning Committee recuse themselves from all discussions relating to a development or issue in which they are involved. Importantly, these recusals are recorded in the minutes of each meeting. These minutes are freely available to all Ratepayer Association members and the public for reference and are loaded onto our website for scrutiny.

“We invite like-minded and committed Ratepayers to come forward and assist us with the important volunteer work we are doing to ensure a healthy, secure, clean, inclusive and harmonious living environment,” says van Embden. The next AGM is scheduled for 17h30 on Wednesday, 14 March at the President Hotel in Bantry Bay.

Please feel free to contact the SFBRRA by emailing admin@sfb.org.za or by calling 078 873 0423.

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Author: Berman Brothers

Submitted 07 Mar 18 / Views 1389