Following the flood of letters which Bolander has published over the past six weeks about the planned residential development on land owned by the Helderberg College of Higher Education, Bolander invited the president of the college, Dr Vincent Injety, to respond to a number of the assertions which emerged in the published letters.
Bolander: “Bolander has published numerous letters of complaint about the proposed residential property development on Helderberg College land, starting in our April 3 edition. The tone of the letters has become increasingly outraged, and aside from a response from your Mr Elden Swart, there has been no reaction from the college.”
Dr Injety: “Mr Elden Swart is the spokesperson of the college.”
Bolander: “It is evident from the substance of the letters Bolander has published, that the community believes that the college is in breach of multiple statutory requirements in the processes the college has followed in pursuit of planning permission for the development. I refer here, amongst others, to the heritage impact assessment, the basic assessment report, and the traffic impact assessment.”
Dr Injety: “The college is in compliance with all the statutory requirements. If the community believes we are in violation of any of the requirements they should take it up with the relevant Government authorities. If the authorities indicate to us any violations or non-compliance, we will make amends. Therefore, the constant outrage is uncalled for while the college has not breached any statutory requirements.”
Bolander: “Further, it is evident from these letters, that despite your assurances on the occasions when you have met with concerned residents that you would keep them fully informed, that you are accused of not having honoured this undertaking.”
Dr Injety: “In the meeting of March 9 2016, three individuals approached me in their personal capacity enquiring whether there will be a housing development at the particular site and I responded in the affirmative. Apart from this response, no assurance was given. The college will not enter into private agreements with select community members where it is not mandatory. Where it is required by the law, our consultants have engaged the community for the planning permissions. The local residents were informed through public notices and advertisement in the local press inviting comment from the public through the environmental and heritage planning process.”
Bolander: “Mr Swart is also blatantly accused of having lied in his letter to Bolander, and Dr Bernard Ficker, who has a long association with the college, is also accused of, if not dishonesty, at the very least, distortion of the facts, in his letter that Bolander has published.”
Dr Injety: “The spokesperson has not lied or distorted the facts. They should prove where Mr Swart has lied.”
Bolander: “The assertions that the college allows construction traffic for Olive Edge to pass through the college’s grounds, yet allegedly refuses to do so for the anticipated construction traffic for the proposed new development, seems to be a major bone of contention with the college.”
Dr Injety: “We have not allowed any construction traffic for Olive Edge. They had no access to the Olive Edge before the construction started. We allowed their trucks to construct their access road. In addition, it must be noted that their vehicles entered the campus and turned off immediately after the main gate to a different direction.”
Bolander: “It is also evident that, in the opinion of many of the letter writers, that, despite professing to empathise with the concerns of the affected community, the college and its parent institution is determined to proceed with the development, irrespective of the views of the affected community, or any statutory provisions pertaining to the development that have allegedly been violated.”
Dr Injety: “No, we will not proceed without the approval of the statutory bodies. The allegations of processes being bypassed are not accurate as Helderberg College of Higher Education have followed all the rules and regulation set forth by the City of Cape Town.
“We appreciate the paper for (sic) giving us the opportunity to clarify before letters of false allegations are publicised.”
In an article in Bolander last week, “New road for Helderberg College” it was stated that Dr Irvin Khoza donated a sum of money to Helderberg College in response to a need expressed by the college, when in fact, Dr Khoza pledged the donation at the occasion of the college’s 125-year celebration. Bolander apologises for the error.