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Challenges

After 17 years of existence the Oude Molen Eco Villages vision has come under threat from Provincial Government’s proposed Mega Development on land surrounding and including the Oude Molen Eco Village property. At a public meeting with the Prov. Gov. City Regeneration Team facilitated by Francois Joubert and Mark Swilling, they conceded that property on the OMEV had already been allocated to a pharmaceutical company called Biovac and that unless prevented from doing so, they were proceeding with the medical park development.

While OMEVTA / City TRUP support much of what the Prov. Gov. City Regeneration Team is proposing on land surrounding the OMEV property, we however believe the decision to develop a private corporate medical park on the OMEV property is an unimaginative “Business As Usual “and top-down development approach founded on a failed and outdated Trickle Down economic model. The OMEVTA / City TRUP partnership together with visitors that frequent the village believes this Business As Usual “approach is completely short-sighted, is not in sync with current international best practices and a medical park development on the Oude Molen property should be prevented for the following reasons:

  • Current international research has confirmed that the conventional pro corporate business as usual trickle down economic model has contributed towards poverty, is obsolete, outdated, inappropriate and unable to address growing social and economic challenges.

  • The top down decision making approach is inconsistent with the Provincial administration’s policy advocated by Ryan Coetzee Strategic Adviser to the Premier in which he expressed - “the idea of a whole-of-society approach to governing, …..no government in South Africa is able to succeed without mobilising the ideas, energy and resources of citizens and organised civil society”.

  • The approach to date is also inconsistent with the policy advocated by Premier Helen Zille where she explains “The open opportunity society for all is the society that the drafters of our Constitution envisaged, and does not regard people as “victims” but as active participants in development. Our job, in partnership with each and every citizen, with civil society and other spheres of government, is to make that vision a living reality”.

  • The process has not been transparent or involved any public participation or consultation with effected communities and key stakeholders such as the City TRUP organisation, Maitland Garden Village community, rent paying tenants on Oude Molen Eco Village, Observatory community and many other communities throughout Cape Town that continue to visit and enjoy services and activities offered on the eco village

  • The emphasis on large corporate business to generate employment, address poverty and ensure equitable distribution of resources contradicts current research which confirms that small enterprises have produced the majority of all new employment opportunities in South Africa over the past twenty years and will continue to do so for the next twenty years. Research also indicates that small enterprises distribute wealth far more equitably than large corporates

  • The proposed excessive building footprint by Prov. Gov. will destroy the unique ambiance, public urban park character and open space appeal that sets Oude Molen apart while preventing public access to the Oude Molen property

  • The top-down decision by Prov. Gov. undermines true democratic principles and the proactive tenant and local community’s constructive joint custodianship of public assets role over the past 17 years that has benefited local communities and the region as a whole

  • The proposed medical park will require highly skilled employees and as a result will not provide employment opportunities to citizens from local and surrounding communities where unemployment is most predominant and needed the most

  • The “Business As Usual “pro-corporate profit driven model does not recognise progressive and innovative international best practice Social Enterprise multi- bottom line management models of doing business promoted by leaders such as Richard Branson (prioritising planet, people, and then profit)

  • The proposed medical park development on the Oude Molen property will have an immensely negative gentrification effect on the adjoining / neighbouring Maitland Garden Village community and over time destroy the social cohesion, historical culture and connectedness of a hundred year old village

  • The proposed medical park development and process to date contradicts the Provincial Governments proclaimed values in terms of;

transparency and accountability, creating a city where everyone is included / using design to heal the negative legacies of the city’s divided past and reconnect its people and its spaces / creative communities for social, economic and cultural solutions / a city that comes alive as a diverse, connected and socially inclusive space that encourages an entrepreneurial culture, provides a welcoming and inspiring place for socially mixed communities / access to green and vibrant public spaces / providing affordable premises for small and micro enterprises

The ambitions for the central city must go beyond the current amalgam … it must also come alive as a diverse, globally connected and socially inclusive space that encourages the entrepreneurial culture of Cape Town, provides a welcoming and inspiring place for socially mixed communities, …..The city needs to become a space of opportunity, in particular for informal traders, young people and job creating activities capable of absorbing un- and semi-skilled workers into secure long-term employment. The city also needs to demonstrate that all this can be done in ways that are sustainable in relation to the beauty of green and blue spaces, the water and energy resources that are required for growth, the diversity and value of locally produced food, and the resources which citizens and businesses recycle."

Misinformation

Unfortunately government officials continue to give the general public and key decision makers the impression that Oude Molen consists of illegal non rent paying tenants who are opposed to development. In addition, decision makers attempt to justify the proposed high density overdevelopment by stating that the property managed in its current form is financially unsustainable. This misinformation is motivated by the need to discredit the tenant and local community’s proactive efforts and in so doing justify governments top down unilateral decision making approach. THE FACTS Of the 46 premises occupants, 4 are non-rent paying and the remaining 42 are hardworking proactive value adding rent paying tenants who provide employment and collectively share and give direct effect to the Provincial Administrations values and objectives regarding; job creation, youth skills development, urban agriculture, using design to heal the negative legacies of the city’s divided past, reconnecting its people and its spaces, creative communities for social, economic and cultural solutions, access to green and vibrant public spaces, providing affordable premises for small and micro enterprises, proactive joint custodians of public assets. The OMEVTA / City TRUP partnership has always and continues to recognise development is necessary to ensure financial sustainability and to maximise the property’s potential for the benefit of the region but are proposing a balanced development approach that can leave a lasting legacy showcasing democratic principles, holistic partnership based development and proactive citizenship and joint custodianship of public assets.

Conclusion

The OMEVTA / City TRUP partnership embrace a belief that in a true democracy, citizens have a duty as joint custodians of public assets to hold elected leaders as co-custodians, responsible for promoting and pursuing a future development model that addresses the needs and aspirations of multiple stakeholders while ensuring optimum social, economic and environmental benefits for local communities as well as the entire region.
The proposal put forward and envisaged by the OMEVTA / City TRUP partnership is a unique amalgamation of carefully researched local and international best practices, is a win-win financially sustainable solution emphasising a holistic development approach that optimizes the historical legacy, strategic location, scenic views and unique social, economic and recreational opportunities the Oude Molen Eco Village property has to offer the entire region and will complement the Prov. Gov. proposed Mega Development surrounding the Oude Molen property. The OMEVTA / City TRUP partnership’s envisaged outcome has the potential to become a flagship project and a popular destination similar to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which by way of local and international visitors has made an immense financial contribution to the regional economy since its inception. The village is a working demonstration of how proactive citizens and communities as joint custodians of public assets are able to transform under-utilised public assets to address socio-economic and environmental challenges in an innovative way. The continued transformation and successful implementation of the OMEVTA / City TRUP future development has the potential to inspire similar proactive citizenship engagement and replication, thereby contributing towards a positive multiplier effect in addressing poverty, job creation, youth development, food security and environmental challenges throughout the country. The transformation of the property to date as well as the future development proposal put forward by the OMEVTA & City TRUP partnership gives direct effect to our “by the people for the people” constitutional mandate.

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