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Wienburg challenges Rasool to referendum

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Wienburg challenges Rasool to referendum

by Toyah Lord
17 Apr 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Condifent that the Cape Town Environmental Protection Association (CEPA) has the backing of Cape Town ratepayers, chairperson Arthur Wienburg stands firmly by their action to stop the Soccer World Cup Stadium from being built in Green Point.

Wienburg has issued a challenge to the city council and the province to hold a "free and fair referendum" to prove the consensus of the people of Cape Town.

"I challenge Ebrahim Rasool and the city to hold a free and fair referendum asking the ratepayers of Cape Town what they think of destroying the Common and spending R3 billion on a 90 minute spectacle," he says.

Wienburg tells People's Post that he is one of a growing number of CEPA members and a large number of Cape Town ratepayers who regard the proposed stadium as a "monument to folly". He feels this is also backed by the "overwhelming majority of support indicated in daily newspapers' teleletters".

"We will not be intimidated nor deflected from our course in the pursuit of justice and common sense," Wienburg states.

"CEPA's position is clear. We welcome the hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup and we support the Bid Book position to host a quarter final match at either Newlands or Athlone," he explains.

According to Wienburg, CEPA feels the R3 billion can be better spent on poverty alleviation, job creation and infrastructural requirements as "the entire Green Point Common requires major upliftment".

He says this should be done after proper consultation with the ratepayers of Cape Town, "holistically and not piecemeal".

"Any new stadium must be built in an area which will not damage the environment, be easily accessible by both public and private transport, and be economically sustainable. The Green Point site does not meet any of these criteria," he says.

Wienburg says the City Council, provincial or national government must stop rumours that if a stadium is not built in Green Point, money earmarked for infrastructure will not be spent.

"World Cup or not, we need and deserve to have decaying infrastructure rehabilitated and we do not need to be blackmailed or bullied," he says emphatically."

He adds that "Rasool's personal hysterical attack" on him in the media constituted "spewing bile, as he tacitly admits that the process is flawed and largely incorrect", defining his statement as "one which reeks of fear that his and the city council's proceedings will be exposed when under scrutiny by the court".

"Rasool and the City Council have embarked on a wider consultative process in regard to the proposed urban park than they did for the proposed stadium," he adds.

Asked how CEPA would feel if it were successful in its bid to stop the stadium from being built at Green Point, costing the city R500 million and jeopardising a further R10 billion in investments, Wienburg says, "If they claim that, then it is an indictment against the city if they are prepared to go ahead and put ratepayers' money at risk. They know they are facing litigation that could result in the stadium not being built. To proceed in the face of this is contemptuous of the court process as well as an indication of very poor money management".

As to lodging a complaint so late in the process and not during the public participation process, Wienburg does not feel that their complaints are late but rather early, as he says the "plans were only finalised last week and must still be advertised".

"If the city is so concerned about late submissions, then tell me why they have left it to 2007 to give it proper attention, when the 2010 Soccer World Cup was awarded to us in 2004?" he asks.

Wienburg says that when the bid for Cape Town was put in, the idea was that Green Point would host a quarter final, but that Rasool then changed it to Athlone and decided the semi-final should be held at Green Point. Asked how he would feel if the World Cup was lost due to CEPA's legal actions, Wienburg says, "The quarter final can be played as originally intended at either Newlands or Athlone at a quarter of the cost, so there is no risk of losing the World Cup".

The hearing was planned for yesterday, but postponed until this morning (Tuesday, 17 April).

City of Cape Town 2010 spokesperson Pieter Cronje says, "The city will oppose any legal action to halt construction of the Green Point Stadium. Construction is currently proceeding according to the programme. We believe the statutory processes CEPA wants reviewed were proper and compliant.

"Court action at this stage of the process is ill-timed and unproductive, given the opportunity for public participation, comment and appeals during several statutory processes. The stadium is not a random development, but part of several developments at the V&A Waterfront which will also give Green Point a capital injection and income for a redeveloped sports and recreation precinct.

"The city would like to know whom the CEPA represents and who their members are. Hosting a World Cup semi-final will bring major public and private sector investment to Cape Town which could be jeopardised by legal delays," Cronje concludes.

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