The Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association (BOCRA) and Professor Todeschini give the City of Cape Town notice of their intention to APPEAL the Municipal Planning Tribunal's decision (Updated 15 Aug 2016)

The Municipal Planning Tribunal's irrational and precedent setting decision - effectively giving the green light for a 20-storey wall of MONSTER buildings cutting off the Bo-Kaap from the CBD. 

The Municipal Planning Tribunal's irrational and precedent setting decision - effectively giving the green light for a 20-storey wall of MONSTER buildings cutting off the Bo-Kaap from the CBD. 

On the 15 August 2016, the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association submitted documents to the City of Cape Town, notifying it that BOCRA would be appealing the decision of the Municipal Planning Tribunal which approved the Monster building on 7 June 2016.

BOCRA's appeal was based on the following issues:

  • PROCESS - There were no heritage professionals, no qualified urban designer, no neutral legal expert on the Municipal Planning Tribunal to evaluate the decision. The City distributed the 1800 page report to BOCRA a mere 2 working days before the tribunal hearing, which gave BOCRA insufficient time to prepare. The tribunal was biased towards the developer and came with prepared statements, indicating that they had already made the decision in favour of the developer before the tribunal hearing. The minutes that were distributed were not a true reflection of the tribunal hearing. 
  • ZONING - The consolidation of the 2 erven should not be permitted as the zoning of the properties fall under 2 overlays. 

Download - BOCRA's letter of appeal

Download - BOCRA's request for proper notification of and adequate reasons for the decision

Professor Fabio Todeschini prepared a comprehensive appeal  on behalf of BOCRA, local property owners and affected parties, with the following grounds for appeal:

General grounds for appeal:

  • The decision is irrational and is obviously not in the longer-term public interest in terms of best practice and of sound city planning, urban design or heritage resources management, as may be understood by a reasonable person, even not a city planner or other built-environment professional;
  • The decision is flawed procedurally;
  • The decision did not take into account and respond to the substance of over 1,000 written reasonable objections lodged by the then due date of February 2016 by citizens of Cape Town, the majority being residents of the Bo-Kaap. 

Specific grounds for the appeal: 

  • The decision flouts provisions of: the declared CoCT SDF of 2012; the declared Densification policy of 2012; and of the adopted Tall Buildings policy;
  • The decision flouts provisions of the adopted District SDF of 2012;
  • The decision flouts provisions of the HPOZ and the reasonable representations and objections made in regard to how the proposed development would be seriously damaging to significant heritage resources in the context of the site. The decision is challenged as a consequence;
  • The decision flouts declared CoCT Urban Design policy;
  • The development proposals were framed by a professional team no member of whom has professional qualifications and accreditation in either of the disciplinary fields of urban design or of heritage resources management. Additionally, the CoCT official and case officer who prepared the internal planning report, Mr. Paul Heydenrych, has no professional qualifications or accreditation in either of the disciplines of urban design or of heritage resources management. And, moreover, the MPT decision was taken by a panel that comprised only one individual who has an urban design qualification (Mr. Simon Nicks) and none of whom have any heritage resources management qualifications or accreditation whatsoever. By implication, the vast majority of the professionals involved in the framing and the consideration of the proposals—including the MPT itself—have virtually no professional standing with respect to the very significant urban design and the related heritage resources management issues in the matter. This is by no means reasonable and the decision is, therefore, challenged.  

Download - Professor Fabio Todeschini's appeal document, compiled on behalf of BOCRA, local property owners and affected parties

Download - Appendix 1 - Prof Todeschini's report of June 2016, from which he made verbal representations at the MPT hearing of June 2016

Download - Appendix 2 - a letter of support of this appeal from the Chairman of the Urban Design Institute of South Africa

Download - Appendix 3 - extract from the Tall Building Guidelines of the City of Toronto.


 The Municipal Planning Tribunal unanimously rubberstamps the City's whitewash report and approves the development of the "Monster" building
in the Bo-Kaap. (Update 8 June 2016)


the municipal planning tribunal met on 7 June, 2016 and unanimously dismissed over 1,000 objections to the development of the "monster" building in the bo-kaap, claiming that their "hands were tied" 

“The application had a large number of objections from the residents within Bo Kaap, as well as other Cape Town suburbs, from the rest of South Africa and a few people living outside South Africa…the majority of the erven surrounding the property and within the surrounding area have OBJECTED to the application.”
— From the City of Cape Town report to Municipal Planning Tribunal
  • On 7 June 2016, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, the Municipal Planning Tribunal unanimously approved the development of the "Monster" building, which is being developed for the 1%, and paying lip-service to the objections of the 99%. The Bo-Kaap community will be appealing the decision.  
  • Over 1000 individual objections were submitted to the City of Cape Town on 18 February 2016 (read more here) - over 50% of the households and businesses in the Bo-Kaap object to the proposed development.
  • The developer (Vantage Properties) responded by making minor changes to the proposal, but the building remains substantively the same - 60m high, 18 storeys, 3 levels of basement parking, 249 apartments (R1m+ upwards aimed at high income bracket). The proposed development is still twice the height and size of anything else in the area.
  • All City departments have given the thumbs-up to the development, dismissing the objectors' comments. Click here to read the white wash City report
  • Heritage Western Cape was the only official voice that objected to the development, but their opinion currently has no legal standing due to the fact that the Bo-Kaap is still in the process of being declared subject to a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ).  
  • Heritage Western Cape objected to the proposal noting that:
    • the stepping down to Rose inadequate to mitigate the substantial heritage impact on Bo-Kaap
    • The 60m height is inappropriate and will dominate both the Bo-Kaap and Riebeek Square and will exacerbate the separation of the Bo Kaap from the CBD
    •  The tourism economy will be negatively affected by a very large building looming above the edge of the Bo Kaap, overshadowing it and divorcing it from the City.
    • The proposal is inappropriate in this heritage context and will have a detrimental effect on the heritage significance on both Riebeek Square and the Bo-Kaap.
  • As the Municipal Tribunal has ruled against the people of the Bo-Kaap and citizens of Cape Town, our only option is to appeal to the Mayor's office, where Mayor Patricia de Lille then makes a final ruling.


The Municipal Planning Tribunal and the City of Cape Town have now allowed this dangerous precedent - this is what would happen along Buitengracht Street in time to come, if every property owner develops to the size, bulk and scale of the "Monster" building (in red).

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The precedent that the City of Cape Town has approved - cutting the Bo-Kaap off from the City