Garage for restitution site

An overview of what the development would look like from different angles.

A family removed from Constantia under apartheid want to build a BMW dealership off Ladies Mile on land granted to them by a restitution deal.

Their application comes hot on the heels of the opening late last year of the Constantia Emporium, which was built on a land-restitution site.

The City of Cape Town is considering the application for a “motor repair garage” on the remainder of Erf 4724 and Erf 14038, on Ladies Mile Road in Constantia.

The two properties are bounded by the M3 on its eastern side, Ladies Mile Road and Spaanschemat River Road on its western side, and Kendal Road to the north.

The application was made by the Kherekar Family Trust, which owns Erf 14308. The City owns the remaining extent of Erf 4724 Constantia.

The trust wants to acquire the City portion and rezone pieces of land for general business purposes.

The Kherekars were once neighbours of the Solomon family, who own the site of the Constantia Emporium. The two families now once again find themselves neighbours following land-restitution deals.

According to the Kherekar Family Trust’s motivation report, forced removals in the 1960s saw small properties comprising the Sillery Farm consolidated into a single 4.3-hectare plot, Erf 4724, which today remains the site of ongoing land restitution cases.

The report states that on November 15 2017, Erf 14038 (a portion of Erf 4724) was registered in the name of the Kherekar Family Trust, which has struck a deal with a “partnering development agent” to establish the BMW dealership.

The trust applied to the City in May 2018 to acquire the neighbouring portion of Erf 4724 and in October of that year the City agreed in principle to sell the portion.

The Kherekar Family Trust now wants to subdivide the southern portion of the remaining extent of Erf 4724 and rezone Erf 14038 and the southern portion of the remaining extent of Erf 4724 from utility to general business.

The trust is also seeking consent use for a “motor repair garage”.

The closing date for comments and objections is today.

Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA) chairwoman, Sheila Camerer, said they would be submitting comments on the proposed development.

She said the CRRA was concerned about the scale of the development and the impact on the surrounding views from the M3 scenic route and nearby homes; the impact on traffic; and access to the site from a new entrance road off a traffic circle at the Ladies Mile Road/ Spaanschemat River Road intersection.

Ms Camerer said the CRRA had learnt the proposed development would comprise several buildings with extensive parking and would be virtually on the Ladies Mile building line.

“It will be highly visible from the M3 highway,” she said.

“Given the number of stakeholders involved, there is a danger that the remainder of Erf 4724 Constantia will proceed in a piecemeal fashion and the cumulative effect of this cannot be clearly visualised. Neither can the cumulative effect of the traffic impact and longer-term sustainability of existing services be determined.”

Rashaad Solomon, chairperson of the Solomon Family Trust, said they fully supported their old neighbours, the Kherekars, who had suffered the same fate as them under the Group Areas Act.

“This is restitution. I was born on that land in 1945. It is that family’s right to do what they want with that land. The Constantia people must understand.

“This is a democratic South Africa, and the lives of our families were destroyed when we were removed from our homes. They must stop carrying on like that. That ground doesn’t belong to them.”

He added: “When they established that Constantia association (CRRA) in the 1950s, they didn’t even allow us to be a part of that because we were people of colour.”

Muain Kherekar told the Bulletin on Monday that his 81-year-old father, who is
the land applicant and spokesperson for the family, would speak to the media at a later stage.