Cape Town's heritage not for sale - residents

Jenna Etheridge, News24

Cape Town – Good Hope Centre belongs to all Capetonians and the city’s culture and heritage is “not for sale to the highest bidder”.

This is the message that various groups want the City to know as they plan to march next month in disapproval at the centre possibly being leased out for alternative uses.

The City announced in February that the centre would have a greater economic and job creation impact as a temporary film studio.

This was as opposed to continued, subsidised community usage for the three years it would take for long-term plans to be developed.

The Cape Malay Choir Board, which represents about 28 singing groups, has held their competitions at the centre for a long time, its chairperson Shafick April said on Wednesday.

He said Malay choirs had been singing their hearts out at the formalised competitions in the city for 75 years.

“There is a cultural heritage that we have and a tradition we are upholding.”

They planned their annual competition a year in advance and it usually attracted between 4 000 and 5 000 people, some from overseas.

“What we are worried about is the lack of consultation. At the moment we have nowhere to go.”

April said other venues were too costly. They could not use racecourses or casinos because of religious convictions.

Events mayoral committee member, Garreth Bloor, said a film company had block-booked the centre from July to December this year.

He said the Municipal Assets Transfer Regulations allowed the city to “free up an asset” and that the lease process was currently on hold.

“Once the lease proposal is advertised for comment… objections and/or competitive options must be considered before the final decision is made,” he told News24.

He said the final decision on the future of the centre resided with a full sitting of the city council.

The council had to consider and deliberate on objections, potential alternate offers and potential procedural challenges that could arise.

He assured communities that they would have an opportunity to comment on the proposal to lease the centre to the film industry.

Choir members would take part in the march along with members of the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union, the District 6 Working Community, the Bo-Kaap Civic Association and the Atlantis Concerned Commuters Forum.

News24 Source