I recently sent a message to the DA party headquarters via their web site questioning the validty of the proposed development at Dassenberg.
A very prompt reply told me that my concerns had been forwarded to the Ministry of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and of Development Planning in the Western Cape.
This is the email I got from them and my response back.
From: Peter Pullen [mailto:Peter.Pullen@pgwc.gov.za]
Sent: 24 June 2011 07:50 AM
Dear Mr. Hepworth
I refer to you recent enquiry regarding the farm Dassenberg and would like to confirm the following;
THE DETAILED MEMORANDUM FOR FARM DASSENBERG IS CURRENTLY BEING FINALISED BY THE DEPARTMENT , AND ONCE THE FINAL MEMORANDUM HAS BEEN COMPLETED IT WILL BE SUBMITTED TO MINISTER BREDELL AS THE COMPETENT AUTHORITY FOR A DECISION.
MLO ; Ministry of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and of Development Planning.
021 463 2820
“All views or opinions expressed in this electronic message and its attachments are the view of the sender and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (“the PGWC’). No employee of the PGWC is entitled to conclude a binding contract on behalf of the PGWC unless he/she is an accounting officer of the PGWC, or his or her authorised representative. The information contained in this message and its attachments may be confidential or privileged and is for the use of the named recipient only, except where the sender specifically states otherwise. If you are not the intended recipient you may not copy or deliver this message to anyone.”
Dear Mr. Pullen
Thank you for your response.
What confuses me here is why is a public process not been followed? Other developments in the area have gone through this process recently and been passed without too many concerns (one thinks of the development at the old Kaolin Mine, on the on the other side of Fish Hoek Valley.) So one assumes that there must be some legitimate reason why it was not done for the Dassenberg site.
The ridiculous thing is that if the public process had been entered into we would not be having this problem now, because with all things of this nature the public apathy means that only a few people would raise objections, thus not justifying the cancelling of the project. Now that people have been treated like children their backs are up and anger replaces apathy.
If the project is legitimate and complies with all the necessary regulations (as has been decided by Minister Bredell and his ‘competent authority’ predecessors) why cannot this debate be a public one? I am sure that there are many legal and democratic reasons why the original decision cannot be over turned (such as Mr. Uys said so) but surely there is a mandate to make the granting of subdivision an open debate.
Can you please explain the general factors that mean one development needs to follow a public process and another only needs the approval of a competent authority. Perhaps if we can restore our faith in the democratic system that is supposed to represent us we can allay nervousness that it will let us down again.
Cape Point Chronicle