On Saturday 9th November the Princess Vlei Forum will be launching our Red Flag Vlei campaign.

The intention behind the campaign is to alert Cape Town’s citizens to natural and social spaces in our city that are under threat of inappropriate commercial development.

We are raising the red flag for Princess Vlei because something of great value is in danger. We are raising the red flag to warn our fellow citizens that the City proposes to disregard the needs of poorer citizens for accessible recreational areas, and to sell off a public open space which has been used by the community for generations.

If the proposed development goes ahead:

  • An irreplaceable site for community, educational, recreational, environmental and cultural activities will be lost
  • One of the few public open spaces with the potential to bring our divided city together will be sacrificed to private interest
  • Remnants of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, critical for biodiversity and the health of the Cape Foristic Biome will be paved over.
  • The hydrological system that serves the greater False Bay Wetlands, on which our sewerage system depends, will be severely compromised
  • Hundreds of birds, plants, leopard toads and other fauna will have their homes polluted or destroyed

We have been knocking at the door of the City for two years, but no one seems to be listening. We have been told that Councillors have instructions not to speak about this matter. We have been told that the Mayor cannot meet with us because of “the Hawks investigation.”

And yet, Princess Vlei Forum has not instigated any litigation. The Hawks are investigating a complaint of fraud laid against the developers by a private citizen. There is no court case open. And the only negotiation called into question by the Hawks investigation is the negotiation between the City and the developers.

We would like to ask those in the Mayor’s office, have you suspended negotiations with the developers?

We believe that the City is cynically using this to deny us the opportunity of putting forward the case for Princess Vlei. We are being left with no choice, but a hugely expensive court case that is impossible for local residents to fund.

Our Red Flag campaign is also a red card campaign to warn the City that they are not playing the game by their own rules of fairness and democracy. That their willingness to sell out to developers at Princess Vlei makes a mockery of their claims of compassion, transparency and accountability.

On November 9 at 10 am we will be gathering at Princess Vlei to wrap the trees in red cloth. At 11.30 we will be handing out flags and pamphlets at information tables in Victoria Rd, Grassy Park. We are inviting all Capetonians who value our City to join us.