10 February 2009, 08:47 Source: Cape Argus
A R4-billion residential and commercial development which would create thousands of jobs, could be jeopardised because 27 families living on the site near Du Noon are reneging on an agreement to leave the land, the project’s developer says.
The land owner, Ronald Shell, said the families were tenants on Annandale Farm north of Bothasig and adjacent to the N7 highway, and had agreed to financial payouts to find other accommodation.
An agreement with the families signed in December stated that each household would receive either R55 000, or R25 000 and a Wendy House set up on a site of their choice.
Shell said that with the exception of one person, the families had never worked on the former dairy farm.
He had decided against seeking an eviction order – a process that would take months because every month that passed cost the developers millions.
“Some time ago people were allowed to stay because my farm manager felt it was for protection from guys from Du Noon, but the people never worked for me.
“I think they should just have been told to leave, but they have been given an incredible offer – something they did not deserve in the first place,” Shell said.
The farm manager died in an accident last year.
Gys Tietie, a spokesperson for the families, said nothing has come of promises to relocate them and they did not know where to go.
He said R55 000 could not buy a house elsewhere.
The families, who were being advised by the Anti-Eviction Campaign, wanted an additional R25 000 each for transport and other costs for them to leave, Tietie said.
“What can you do with R55 000? It is too little. It is not enough to buy a house anywhere in Cape Town. We are not fighting. We just want fairness.” he said.
Blue Wave Properties 163 director David Pearson said: “My concern is that the development could be delayed or may even not happen.”
He said the development on the 80-hectare site and which included 1 903 residential units, 150 000m2 of commercial space and a bridge over the N7, would create about 1 000 jobs during construction and 4 000 permanent jobs when the project was completed.
The bridge would be an extension of Blaauwberg Road and help alleviate peak- hour traffic congestion in the area, he said.
Pearson said: “The amount (R55 000) was negotiated and was based on what people could pay for a RDP house in the area. We’ve been nothing but professional in our approach.
“What saddened me is that while some tenants are doing something there are young people who do not work and have spoken to some other people and now they are trying to negotiate again.”
Tenant Freddie Bosman said: “I’m from the Northern Cape and I’ve been here for seven years. We live in Wendies on the farm and pay rent of R220 with electricity or R180 without electricity. I’m worried that I won’t get the money if I want to go back to the Northern Cape.”
* This article was originally published on page 6 of The Cape Times on February 10, 2009