Today we reverse the order of the Sweet & Sour Service Awards, starting with the Sour Service Award.
The Sour Service Award goes to the City of Cape Town, which has found fit to impose numerous bureaucratic rules and regulations for the Oranjezicht City Farm Saturday morning market to no longer operate, two years after it first opened and which has been haled as a success by tourists and locals alike! It sounds like a bungling bureaucracy at its worst, for a project that has the good of the community and artisanal food and beverage suppliers at heart. The Oranjezicht City Farm NPC directors Sheryl Ozinsky, Kurt Ackermann, Tania Miglietta, and Miles Gad wrote to their supporters on Thursday, announcing the closure of the Market:
‘As you may be aware, the Oranjezicht City Farm has not been in a position to erect the tents in Homestead Park for our weekly Saturday Market Day for the past several weeks. As part of our urgent and sustained engagement with the key decision-makers and others up to the highest levels of the City and Provincial governments, a further application was submitted to Heritage Western Cape as required by the City of Cape Town. That application was considered yesterday, 26 November 2014, with the decision made to deny our request. We had been hopeful that our application would be granted, subject to conditions that would show full respect for the heritage fabric of the site, but also allow Market Day to remain viable. However, in addition to thedenial of our application to erect the tents, new requirements were introduced by Heritage Western Cape that increase the difficulty of securing permissions for the site, and limit the scale of the market beyond viability. These include:
- The recent rezoning of Homestead Park by the City of Cape Town that appears not to have followed due process and therefore may not be valid and must first be resolved
- An investigation into potential title deed restrictions not previously raised by any of the authorities, including when permission was granted for establishment of OZCF (which is on part of the same Erf as Homestead Park)
- New archaeological investigations of sub-surface heritage resources in Homestead Park
- A market carrying-capacity analysis and site plan for Homestead Park
Given these new requirements, the time it would take to address and resolve them will extend well into 2015 and perhaps beyond. Additionally, it would take additional expenditure and prioritisation from several departments within the City of Cape Town to address these requirements, leaving the process and its progress well outside of our scope of control, and us only able to influence indirectly and to a limited extent. Further, even with the fulfilment of these requirements, there is no assurance that the permission we have been seeking for Market Day for well over a year would be granted.
We therefore come to the undeniable conclusion that the Oranjezicht City Farm Market Day needs to cease operating with immediate effect.
Over the past two years we have done everything that has been asked of us by the City of Cape Town in order to operate Market Day in Homestead Park. We have been told repeatedly by our councillor and responsible Mayco Member to continue to operate and followed the advice given by City of Cape Town officials regarding numerous applications and other documentation to file and processes to follow. As volunteers who have contributed thousands of working hours to date we cannot see a way to take on these additional requirements and keep Market Day going at a high standard as an open air, more limited, less frequent event. We also have little confidence that additional requirements will not surface, and that the goalposts will not be moved yet again.
The implications of this decision have serious negative consequences for the operations of OZCF, our farm workers, traders, small scale organic farmer suppliers, school groups, tourists, sponsors, our volunteers, the community and partner projects and organisations across the city and beyond. We are now assessing the best ways to keep OZCF operating at a sustainable level of excellence. We are saddened and disappointed that the flourishing Market Day we have all come to love and treasure cannot continue. OZCF will be hosting a public meeting on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 18h30 at St. Cyprian’s School, Gorge Road in Oranjezicht and all are welcome to attend. We thank everybody who has shown us support‘.
The Sweet Service Award goes to Premier Helen Zille, for offering the lawns of Leeuwenhof, her official residence and located in Oranjezicht/Tamboerskloof, for the Market today, and on every Saturday for the period required to return the Market back to the Oranjezicht City Farm. Her offer came in response to the announced closure of the Market on Thursday. The Premier is trying her best to understand why the City of Cape Town is wanting to do everything in its power to make this community project face closure, and is trying to assist in rolling all bureaucratic impediments out of the way. (Photograph by Food24)
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog. FOR THE DURATION OF MASTERCHEF SA SEASON 3 WE ARE MOVING THE SWEET & SOUR SERVICE AWARDS TO SATURDAYS.