9 June 2016
First and foremost we wish to thank the community for the overwhelming support which we received to our petition. At the time of writing, we have almost 3,500 signatures on the petition and over 300 comments, demonstrating the breadth and depth of support for our bid – not only from the Jewish community. In the main, the comments have also reflected the many benefits that the sale has for a broad range of stakeholders.
We have also received over 100 individual letters from community members, the community organisations and Atlantic Sea Board residents and businesses. We are extremely appreciative of this support and are hopeful that you will support us further in providing your own individual letters (see below).
The Reclaim the City group that wish to stop the sale have also been very active over the past two weeks, having organised their own petition and positioning themselves on the main road in Sea Point to collect signatures. They have also organised a public meeting which took place this last Saturday. Whilst our community is sensitive to and supportive of affordable housing solutions in the city, we remain of the view that the Tafelberg site is suboptimal and unsuitable for this purpose, not least due to the high land cost and the heritage aspects of the site.
Following from some of the rhetoric we have observed and heard, we wish to stress the following:
1. From the outset we have made it clear that the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School (PJJDS) purchase is intended for the benefit of the entire community and broader stakeholders and not only for the benefit of the PJJDS. We are still in the process of evaluating various potential communal uses for the property for a range of educational, cultural and recreational purposes. In this regard we have commenced a study which includes every community institution with a view to ensuring an optimal utilisation of the property in a broad community context.
2. The PJJDS purchase of the property is not a “front” for private commercial interests, as has been maliciously claimed. Our community is blessed to have been provided with this opportunity through the community-mindedness and generosity of its benefactors. No clandestine alterior motive exists.
What you can do: The deadline for submissions is this coming Thursday, 9 June 2016 and we want to give our bid a final push. Whilst the petition has a great deal of weight, we are eager to bolster the petition with individual submissions written in people’s own words. In this regard we have set up an online form which will enable you to submit an individual letter in just a few minutes. We will deliver your letter on your behalf to the Chief Director: Immovable Asset Management in terms of the public participation process. We urge you to take a few minutes of your time to complete the form by this Wednesday 8 June.
You are a stakeholder in this process and your individual perspective can make a difference in Province’s deliberations.
We urge all parties to remain constructive and respectful of the diverse range of opinions that exist on this matter.
Views expressed are not necessarily GroundUp’s.