Herron agrees to MEC of Education’s request for maths lesson

Herron agrees to MEC of Education’s request for maths lesson

At last week’s sitting of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Debbie Schafer, MEC for Education, expressed her confusion regarding the difference between double and triple.

She was trying to understand my complaint about the purchase of the Doornbach land by the Provincial Government.

She asked me to explain the difference and on Thursday, 29 th August, I granted the MEC of Education’s request.

Here is a simple lesson in mathematics to.

  • A property with 17 hectares of developable land was offered to the City of Cape Town for R88 million. 

  • City professionals said this was overvalued and that the City already owned larger parcels of vacant land, already reserved for housing, nearby.

  • The City officials tasked with land acquisition elected not to buy this property at R88 million.

  • The “agent” came back with a lower offer, of R58million. But then wanted the sellers R10 million debt (rates and development charges) to the city to be written off.

  • This was still, according to city experts, more than double the value of recent sales in the area.

  • The city officials said no.

  • MEC Shafer’s colleagues in Provincial government bought the land anyway.

  • MEC Madikizela was correct when he said the city had investigated this land.  It is true. 

  • That land acquisition team said that R58 million was more than double the real value.

  • The Provincial Government however ignored that advice and requested the Housing Development Agency (HDA) to acquire that land on its behalf.

  • MEC Simmers, now left holding this bag, has confirmed that the Province has so far paid R64,6 million for most of this land.  Some critical servitude portions of the property are still to be acquired.

  • If R58million is more than double the market value, then I trust that MEC Schafer can follow the mathematics that R88 million must be triple the market value.

  • I am happy to share the evidence of this sale, which I sent to SCOPA to be investigated, if she requires it.

More concerning is that MEC Simmers admitted that he knows that 5ha of the 17ha they bought is not developable. This is because 5ha of the site is a floodplain wetland. 

This means that the province has paid R5.4 million per developable hectare instead of R2.3 million (the price of the City’s nearby recent sale at Annandale). 

This, for clarification of the MEC of Education, is far more than double the market price (2.4 times the price in fact).

They still will not answer why they did not use the free land that they were offered at Potsdam.  At zero cost for Potsdam, the price of Doornbach is – mathematically speaking – infinitely more expensive.

I trust the MEC of Education can now follow the distinction between double and triple.