Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle faced a barrage of criticism from thousands of Capetonians who marched along Chapman’s Peak Drive yesterday to protest against the R54-million toll plaza and luxury office to be built on national park land.
While the organisers had asked for a permit for 500 people, more than 2 000 protesters joined in the march to the site of the proposed new toll plaza.
The DA came under fire from many of the protesters, and Carlisle was heckled and booed.
He was invited to receive a memorandum addressed to Premier Helen Zille. As he got out of his vehicle, he was surrounded by a placard-carrying crowd.
“We voted for you,” shouted James Brodie.
“We voted for the DA, but you let us down, china. What happens if we vote for someone else?”
Some of the placards read “DA Carlisle shame on you”, “Protect Chappies from politicians and corporate greed”, “Murray and Robbers don’t steal our land”, “No to Entilini, no to DA”, “SANParks sellout sucks”, “Jou ma se tol!” and “Jou ma se office block”.
Asked to comment yesterday, Zille said she would “read the memorandum carefully and respond in detail”.
The march was organised by the Civil Rights Action Group (Crag) to show their “outrage” against the provincial government, SANParks and Murray and Roberts for “promoting the construction of a toll plaza and office block on Chapman’s Peak Drive within Table Mountain National Park”.
When Carlisle told the crowd the toll buildings would go ahead, some of the mainly white crowd yelled: “Phantsi, Carlisle, phantsi!”
Phillip Bam, of the Greater Cape Town Alliance, took the microphone and said: “Robin Carlisle used to fight with us against evil like this.
“That’s why you voted for him. Now he tries to buy you off saying there will be free day-passes once there is a proper toll plaza. Let us say to the minister: ‘Today the people have spoken … We don’t want a uxury office block here’.”
Protest convener Bronwen Lankers-Byre gave the memorandum to Carlisle, which said the building of the office on national parks land was unlawful and the premier would be “aiding and abetting an illegal act”. The memo called on Zille to retain the free day-pass and to cancel the contract for the toll plaza and office.
Robert Pomario of Murray & Roberts received a memorandum calling for the release of traffic figures and to reveal how much money the Entilini Trust had paid out to local communities of Hangberg, Redhill, Ocean View and Imizamo Yethu.
No one from SANParks was there to receive the memorandum addressed to the organisation, which called on it to refuse to deproclaim the portion of Table Mountain National Parks that would give land “free of charge to Entilini, a private company” to build its corporate office.
Len Swimmer, chairman of the Residents’ Association of Hout Bay, told Carlisle in his address: “So it’s not just me and three members, it’s thousands of people here.
“The people have spoken. The luxury office block should not be here … it is not for the benefit of the people, only for the benefit of Entilini and Murray and Roberts.”
Carlisle told the crowd that, despite the opposition, the toll road was there to stay. Around R190m had been invested to make the “very dangerous” pass safe, which made it one of the most expensive roads in the country. If the cost of the repairs were to be paid out of the general fiscus and not from a toll, it would be “most unfair” on other South Africans. The agreement with Entilini was not legally faulty. If residents believed it was, they could go to court, he said.