23 June 2021
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Dear <<First Name>>

On Monday, the Observatory Civic Association lodged an appeal against the Water Use Licence issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation for the re-development of the River Club.

The Licence was awarded last week to the developers.

Our appeal was lodged with the Water Tribunal under section 148(1) of the National Water Act, which provides interested and affected parties the right to appeal a Water Use Licence decision. 

Section 148(2) of the Act notes that while the matter is under appeal, the award of the licence is suspended.

This means that the LLPT may not commence any activities for which it has received authorisation in terms of the licence until the appeal has been decided.

We therefore expect the LLPT to desist from any further building activity on the site that would pre-empt the appeal process and ask they respect the legal process under the National Water Act.

The OCA appeal details multiple grounds which we believe were overlooked when granting the license including the need to redress the results of past racial and gender discrimination; the efficient and beneficial use of water in the public interest;  the socio-economic impact of the water use if authorised; the likely effect of the water used to be authorised on the water resource and on other water users; the class and the resource quality objectives of the water resource;  the strategic importance of the water used to be authorised; the quality of water in the water resource which may be required for the Reserve and for meeting  international obligations; and the duration for which the water use is to be authorised.

We note that the views of the City of Cape Town Environmental Management department, as contained in their appeal against the Environmental Authorisation for the re-development, raised many concerns about the development’s impact on water resources and further support the fact that license should not have been granted.

For inquiries, contact

WARM regards on this cold day
Edwin Angless - OCA Communications #MaketheLiesbeekMatter

Support our legal action to stop the River Club Development by clicking on the below link.
OCA Backabuddy Campaign

50000+ Voices Matter:
Stop the River Club Development

June 14


Jeff Bezos may be blasting off into outer space but our petition rocketed up to over 50 000 signatures in the past few days. 

I guess it must surely now get through to Jody Aufrichtig that a lot of people are opposed to his development. Quite a lot of people. I say that because he seems to have a problem with basic arithmetic, at least when it comes to counting how many people and organisations are opposed to the River Club development. He keeps perseverating about the opposition being ‘a small number of people.’ 

Today, our petition exceeded 50 000 signatures – that’s a lot of people, and the numbers continue to rise. Why? Because people are disgusted with how this development could have been approved completely contrary to environmental and climate policies and in disregard for heritage – to the extent that Heritage Western Cape said the approval was unlawful and Khoi leaders have insisted that their heritage is not for sale and will not be bought. 

And on Wednesday we invite you to join a Walk of Resistance on June 16th starting a the BoKaap Museum at 71 Wale Street in Cape Town when an alliance of organisations will march to challenge the colonial legacy that is part of placing Amazon on the Liesbeek.  The walk will wend its way from the UNESCO-recognised Bokaap, past the statue of Jan Smuts and the Slave Lodge to end at the bottom of Adderley Street at the statue of Jan van Riebeek, first colonial governor of the Cape. The Dutch East India Company (known as the VOC) was the 17th Century equivalent of a Multinational Corporation, much like Amazon today. And like Amazon, the VOC placed its colonial stake through Khoi lands without any reference to the rights of indigenous people or the sanctity of the riverine environment.  

We will walk tomorrow to hand this petition to the Mayor in the hope that he hears your voice – actually 50 000+ voices. These are voices that the LLPT and Jody Aufrichtig have dismissed as a minority in their desperate efforts to get their development approved. 

For example, back in August 2019, Jody stated that the delays in the development were because of actions “by only a few in the community.” That was at the time when the LLPT tried to join the OCA in order to find out how many members we had, but then didn’t bother to wait for an answer about our membership numbers before making up that claim. Contrary to Jody’s claims, the OCA has a lot of members and a lot of support in the community and is probably one of the more active and larger Civics in the Cape Metro.  

 We thought perhaps he had modified his perspective when he was quoted in the Mail and Guardian in September 2020 when he commented that “It is regrettable that people who claim to speak for the working class and poor are trying to block it.” At least he didn’t seem to make the mistake about our numbers being small, even if was grandstanding about speaking for the working class and poor.  Of course, the working class are quite capable of speaking for themselves as they have done in opposing this development in large numbers. 

But sadly, Jody’s recovery with numbers seemed to go awry in 2021. Quoted in Groundup after the Municipal Planning Tribunal approved the rezoning in March 2021, Jody rehashed his previous claim verbatim but reinserted the fiction of the ‘small group’. He pontificated that “It is regrettable that a small group of people who claim to speak for the working class and poor, are trying to block a project that will contribute towards spatial justice and improving access to private land in the City.” 

That’s odd because by then we had about 25 000 signatures on our petition. Not a small group. Not by a long shot. Nor by any stretch of the imagination.  

The desperation by the LLPT to deny the huge groundswell of opposition to the development continued in May when it appeared in their rather churlish and, frankly, nasty response to the smear emails distributed last month. LLPT was asked what they thought about the smears against the OCA and myself and, rather than distancing themselves from the emails, they managed again to stick it to the OCA by claiming that a “vicious and vocal nimbyism by a handful oppose our plans.” Again, by some mysterious logic, opposition from more than 40 000 people on a petition and more than 60 NGOs, First Nation Groups and Civics was reduced to just ‘a handful.’ 

 It seems the LLPT believes that the more often you repeat a lie, the more likely it is to be believed. Sadly, that is the logic of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. And it does not work. There’s a simple solution to this. LLPT can stop saying the opposition the development is small or a handful and apologise for misrepresenting the facts. And while they are about it, they would do well to distance themselves from any defamatory, vitriolic and illegal emails that attack opponents of the development rather than calling us the one who are vicious. 

But in one sense they are correct in using the term handful, though it’s not the sense the LLPT mean.  Because we do want to be a figurative handful for the LLPT as in the google definition of a handful being “a person or group that is very difficult to deal with or control.” We are certainly not going to be controlled by the LLPT or Amazon in giving in to their misplaced entitlement to place 150 000 square meters of concrete on an environmentally sensitive floodplain and a spiritually significant heritage site. And if exercising our democratic rights gives them uphill, they should have thought of it before embarking on this destructive path. 

In contrast, what is small is what the group of Khoi supporting the development are seen to be.  Chief Dannie Bolton of the Cochoqua traditional authority stated on Feb 7th 2020 “This whole development has not got our approval. It benefits a small group who claim they are traditional leaders.” In fact, what Chief Marthinus Martinus Fredericks, paramount chief of the !Aman (Nama) Traditional Council, made clear was that “We will mobilise every single Khoi and San person in the country to stop that development.” 

So, hopefully, Jody’s arithmetical skills are restored to him when he faces a long court battle, and he realises it is just not worth it. We are not small in numbers and we are not small in ideas. But, unlike Jody, we don’t have huge amounts of money to bankroll an expensive court case. So, please support us at our fundraising site so that we can achieve justice in this matter. Please join us on our Walk of Resistance on the 16th against the recolonisation of the Liesbeek.  

Make the Liesbeek Matter! 

UPDATES from our Petition Site
Below you can find some recent updates from our campaign.

NOTE - Please only sign and do not donate to as that money does not
come to us but serves only to boost the petition.

Please join us in this battle and sign our petition
55,000 have signed. Let’s get to 50,000!
Reminder of our next Mancomm meeting
which will be held on Tuesday 29 June 2021

Mancomm Meeting
Date: Tue 29th June 2021
Time: 18h00
Venue: via Zoom at Home
Documents relating to the next Mancomm meeting

Draft Agenda 29 June 2021
We should trust the science, Jody – but all of the science

20 JUN 2021

Today our update is focused on science and pollen. Here’s why …

Jody Aufrichtig, spokesperson for LLPT, the River Club developers, published a recent Right to Reply in the Daily Maverick, dismissing criticisms of the re-development by claiming that we should “trust the science” and “trust the experts”.

But what Jody really means is that the public should only trust their experts and the science that the LLPT pays for. The LLPT did not trust the science of the City’s Environmental Management Department (EMD) who raised 13 scientific grounds, including concerns over biodiversity harm and climate change, in appealing the River Club’s environmental authorisation.  In fact, the developers ignored the EMD.

There are also many other expert scientists who disagree with the re-development of the River Club on scientific grounds. For example, the South African Astronomical Observatory (a National Heritage Site and world renown scientific research entity), also appealed the River Club re-development. Amongst their concerns they noted the need to preserve unique local flora and retain the “green breathing area amidst a highly populated and urban area.".......

The People have spoken –
over 50 000 of them!
Photograph by Edwin Angless
Councillor Matthew Kempthorne recieves 50,000+ petitions on behalf of the mayor of Cape Town

16 JUN 2021

Today the people’s voice was heard in Cape Town. The Voice of the Goringhaicona. The Voice of the !Aman Traditional Authority. The Voice of the Kai Korana Trans frontier. The Voice of the A|XARRA Restorative Justice Forum. The Voice of the Salt River Heritage Society. The Voice of the BoKaap Civic Association. The Voice of the Observatory Civic Association. The Voice of Activists, including an Imam, a poet, a Reverend, another poet, a young person. People came from inner Cape Town. People came from the Cape Flats. People came from Langa and the townships. People came from Stellenbosch. People came from Oudtshoorn. All saying the same thing. This development on the Liesbeek cannot proceed. 50 000 voices matter.  No to Amazon. No to heritage insult. No to destruction of an environmentally sensitive floodplain. No the colonial legacy that continues to allow injustice to occur.

We marched today from the Bokaap museum, down to Jan Smuts’ statue, where the contradiction between honouring a colonial leader with a statue outside the Museum located in the old Slave Lodge was brought home to us as one of the many ways in which indigenous people’s history and oppression is obliterated from memory by ‘progress’. The same way Amazon will sit astride the total destruction of the sacred Liesbeek Valley.

We then moved down Adderley St, stopping to honour and acknowledge the flower sellers who have contributed to the living heritage of our City despite their marginalisation and struggle at the hands of City policies. We ended at the statue of Jan van Riebeek where the call was made to remove colonial statues and replace them with statues commemorating leaders of First Nations who resisted the colonists. Both Smuts and Van Riebeek were ceremonially draped in plastic bags to signal the need to rethink the public icons we value. And we handed over to the representative of the Mayor of Cape Town a box with the petition and your comments – to demand that the City accept that it cannot sell the heritage of the Khoi to the highest bidder. It cannot destroy a flood plain and infill a sacred river in the name of consumerist progress that will benefit elites. It cannot paralyse our ability to maintain resilience in the face of Climate Change by removing the last green belt in this City.......

Watch video of Reverend Boesak
supporting our petition
#June16th #YouthDay Rev Allan Boesak explaining the importance of the OCA's campaign to stop the River Club development. Show your support by signing our petition here:
A biodiversity bomb

9 JUN 2021

Writing in the Daily Maverick today, Isabella Hayden points out exactly how the development at the River Club, far from being the much vaunted biodiversity wonder sold by the developer, is actually a huge threat to many species of birdlife, fish and other fauna in the area. The notion of infilling the river and turning it into a swale is only logical if you are looking for a way to plant 150 000 square metres of concrete on the site. That’s far from the biodiversity dream the developers are pretending this development will be.

Filling in a watercourse and destroying a river ecosystem and conservation area that is home to 3 species of fish and 21 species of fish-eating birds dependent on this habitat, plus water fowl, otters and the endangered Western Leopard Toad is an act being perpetrated to facilitate the establishment of Amazon’s African HQs development on the Liesbeek. The City’s own Environmental Management Department warned that the proposal will not be compatible with preserving biodiversity but they were simply ignored. As was the Delft University study that shows clearly that that is more than possible, in fact desirable, to rehabilitate the existing river with ecological, biodiversity and climate benefits.

We agree with Ms Hayden and other environmental scientists who have spoken out that it is a heinous crime against the environment to fill in a watercourse hosting these species, particularly in light of the critical need to protect ecosystems, especially aquatic ecosystems. The River Club development proposes to bury a river bed, its banks and the floodplain to make way for a mega-development which the Chair of the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT), in August 2020, compared favourably to Century City [a Cape Town mega-shopping and commercial development] when the MPT ignored all objections and rezoned the land. Not only will this mega-development fill in a river that is sacred to the Khoi, but it will bury a water course totally, in complete contradiction to the City’s own planning rules and environmental policies...........

World Environment Day: Is the Liesbeek River Valley under threat of Ecocide?

5 JUN 2021

It’s World Environment Day, a day when we are supposed to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. But it’s a day when we are having to raise funds (please donate at our fund raising site) to go to the High Court to get our authorities to take environmental and heritage protections seriously.

The City of Cape Town loves to praise its own record on the environment. For example, it announced it had added 300 plants to restore the seasonal wetland at Jack Muller Park in Bellville in celebration of World Environment Day; it announced the move of its Green home to Green Point Urban Park ahead of World Environment Day as evidence that “the City has long been a leader in its climate mitigation and adaptation efforts”; it supported the painting of a beautiful beach mural in Fish Hoek in order to educate the public about the rise in sea-level and what it means for Cape Town; the City’s Invasive Species Unit cleared the Kirstenhof Wetland of invasive alien species and paid special attention to doing so outside of the breeding season for the Endangered Western Leopard Toad (a species of great importance at the River Club); Cape town was able to win awards in biodiversity in the 2021 City Nature Challenge because Cape Town residents excelled at making the most observations of nature, finding the most species, and engaging the most people.
All of this would be great if the City lived up to its hubris. But while its staff in the Environmental Management and Climate Science departments try their best, the planners in the City simply ride roughshod over any of their science when it comes to investment (sorry, development) decisions. As we saw during the rezoning process for the River Club, the city technical experts’ careful and considered comments were simply ignored by the developers, their consultants and the city decision-makers. In their appeal against the Environmental Authorisation, the Environmental Management Department of the City made the point that they had “repeatedly emphasized … that the proposed bulk, scale and footprint of the development is not desirable …” but their comments were ignored. These included comments about the lack of consideration given to climate change impacts and resilience; the loss of open space on site and the failure to describe or mitigate the high negative biodiversity impact or habitat loss of a high faunal sensitivity proclaimed Protected Area and the assumption of a willingness on the City’s part to relinquish such a Protected Area......

Dirty Tricks: Why the silence, Jody?

4 JUN 2021

The dirty tricks are out again. In full force and naked.

Over the weekend of the 15 May 2021, a set of emails was anonymously distributed to hundreds of recipients from an email address The first email attached a copy of the 16-page spread associated with Chief Zenzile Khoisan known as First Nation News, in which the authors lauded the River Club development, presented the First Nations Collective as the voice of Khoi and afforded Jody Aufrichtig, of LLPT and the driver behind the development, a platform to propagate his views about the development.  It is inescapable that this email source looked, smelled and felt like it was from the First Nations Collective, even though it did not identify itself.

The second email was titled “First Nations Call for Suspension of UCT Prof Leslie London” and contained allegations against my person including accusing me of being ‘racist’, a ‘so-called professor’, guilty of pursuing ‘egotistical agendas and vendettas,’ and patronizing. I am accused of ‘deploying the First Nations narrative against our First Nation struggles’ for verbalizing the fact that many Khoi groups are vehemently opposed to this development.

The anonymous email went on to call on the University of Cape Town to discipline me and attached files with similarly malicious statements on a letterhead of the First Nations Collective which gave the River Club as the address for the Collective. More disturbingly, the accusations of racism and being a threat to the interests of Khoi indigenous people was accompanied by the author listing my personal details in the body of the email. Defaming me anonymously is one thing. Placing my home address in a public email to third parties without my permission is prima facie illegal.......

An example of the publicity that our campaign is generating

As a legal battle over Amazon’s proposed headquarters facility in Cape Town looms, public crowdfund donations pour in to support indigenous groups and environmentalists in their dispute against property group Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust and the City of Cape Town.

An online crowdfunding campaign to raise funds in preparation for the upcoming court battle has received donations amounting to R91 077, with an intention to raise around R250 000 to halt plans to turn the treasured piece of land into a commercial and residential development.

In April, the City of Cape Town approved the Cape Town-based R4.5 billion River Club Development – a 15-hectare parcel of land for development owned by the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust, which will house the new Africa headquarters of US retail giant Amazon.........

Read full article here
Thursday's Daily Maverick published a right of reply by Jody Aufrichtig
Read full article here
Readers responded with the following:
  1. The River Club developers claim we should follow the science. But what they mean is that they only follow the science that they pay for. The did not follow the science of the City’s own Environmental Management Department who raised 13 scientific grounds, including concerns over biodiversity harm, in appealing the River Club’s environmental authorisation. It is clear there are many scientists who disagree with the re-development of the River Club on scientific grounds. For example, our premier scientific National Research Foundation institute, the South African Astronomical Observatory (a National Heritage Site and world renown scientific research entity), also appealed the River Club development. Amongst their concerns they noted the need to preserve unique local flora and retain the “green breathing area amidst a highly populated and urban area.”  

  1. Notably, neither the Appeal by the City’s Environmental Management Department nor that of the SAAO are amongst of the documents listed on the SRK website which the LLPT provides as part of the River Club’s environmental impact assessment. If the LLPT wants to avoid misinforming the public, it should provide access to all the documents, including those which give a different scientific view to that which they paid for. 

  1. The fact that the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning approved the development despite significant opposition from Heritage Western Cape (the competent heritage authority for the province) and the City’s own Environmental Management Department is simply a reflection of the political choices of the political head of a department which tried to prevent Heritage Western Cape in its efforts to grade the area as a Provincial Heritage Resource. It will not be the first time that Minister has made a decision in favour of development at the expense of the environment, as shown in the High Court decision on the developments proposed in the Philippi Horticultural Area, where Minister Bredell was found to have failed to consider the environmental impacts sufficiently.  

  1. The River Club developers have regularly deflected public concern by claiming the public is unscientific. Isabella Hayden is dismissed as “lacking scientific credentials.” In the Municipal Planning Tribunal Hearings, the legal representative for the developers mocked an Observatory resident’s appeal regarding the increasing likelihood of flooding. Yet, almost everything that these ‘non-scientists’ have raised is reflected in the concerns of environmental scientists who have objected to this development.  Why would the developers have offered nearby homeowners floodproofing of their homes if there wasn’t an increased risk of flooding (which the City’s Stormwater Management officials insisted upon)?   

  1. It is ironic that the LLPT object to criticism of their development as ‘misinformation’ but continue to repeat the falsehood that opposition is from “a small but vocal group of people.” There are more than 55 000 people who have signed a petition against the development and more than 60 First Nation, Civic and Environmental Organisations who have applied for the Two Rivers Urban Park, which includes the River Club Site, to be graded as a Provincial Heritage Resource. It is the LLPT who are spreading misinformation rather than the public. 

  1. The LLPT is incorrect as characterising criticisms of the approval as an attempt to ‘discredit the legal process’. We have every faith in the legal process because that is all that is left to us now after the administrative processes run by the City planners and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning have failed the people of South Africa. It is administrative process that have been unfair and manipulated to achieve outcomes that powerful elites wanted to see happen. So, it is actually the legal process to which were are now forced to turn by seeking a review in the High Court.  Let the courts decide who is correct. Anyone wishing to support us financially to seek justice in this matter can do so here. 

    One of our members, Alexandra Downing, responded to Jody Aufrightig's article with the following:


    Indeed, the "science for hire" game is alive and well, and SRK has notoriously been part of other developments that put people, particularly racialised, Indigenous, and low-income communities in harm's way along with the non-human surrounding environment. SRK gave the go-ahead to displace Blikkiesdorp residents to make way for the re-aligned airstrip at Cape Town International, R2K had to make a huge stink for them even to release the memorandum of understanding signed between the City and the Airports Company South Africa - they would sooner have had the Blikkies community forcibly removed in silence after conducting inefficient and inaccessible "community consultations," only to put the entire community and much bigger parts of Delft in line of excessive noise pollution (above 65db). The "scientific evidence" produced in the Environmental Impact Assessment represents a complex assemblage of the international corporate interest of Amazon, capital gain for Liesbeek Leisure Properties and further beautifying gentrification for the City of Cape Town. This kind of collusion is neocolonial to the core. Willow Arts Collective, who have been fighting to stay at the old circus, are to be evicted because they're in line of the same floodplain that they're about to put a massive development on top of. The development initiative claims it will provide only a measly 4% of its premises to "affordable" housing. SRK makes their environmental impact assessments "available to the public," but in my experience they do remove full EIAs from their website when the dust settles. So these "experts" he's talking about are more like cronies that are hired to give the "evidence" needed to displace landless people, harm the environment, take away invaluable greenspace in our urban commons, and pave over sacred Indigenous land.

Updates from OBSID

Last Monday OBSID responded after the two robberies of Obs businesses. While we don’t guard private premises - we are a deterrent in public spaces - we have increased the public safety vehicles patrol frequency around the businesses and  moving a security kiosk to C/O Norwich and Lower Main. We are hoping that the increased visibility will prevent further incidents. 

We have also informed businesses of the incidents and asked them to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us. As residents, please always also do the same. 

OBSID are always looking at ways to improve public safety - over the years we have changed our security service provider, introduced new LPR technologies, increased our vehicle, foot patrol and control room capacity, and our presence on various communication channels. 

If any residents or business owners have concerns or suggestions, please contact OBSID at 021 448 7090 or email or visit the OBSID offices at Unit 13A, Michael’s Office Park, St. Michaels Road, Observatory. 

2021 - working in the "new normal"

The Observatory community is made up of a bustling mix of people from all walks of life who live, work and socialize in the area.  We face the typical inner city challenges of grime and crime, with a sizeable segment of the community who call the streets and public spaces of Observatory their home.  

The OBSID is tackling these issues on a daily basis and we hope this update gives you an overview of what we’re doing to improve public spaces, safety and cleanliness in the suburb.

Public spaces projects

Reimagining the Village Green: We’re excited to be partnering with Open Streets, who are undertaking a feasibility study around the Village Green.   This project will develop and communicate a suggested implementation plan for the Observatory Village Green public space and its surrounding context. 

The plan and its outcomes will address the proposed transformation of this space in a way in a manner that is citizen supported, institutionally underpinned, and both socially and financially sustainable.

Telling the story of Observatory through heritage and memorialisation: a working group comprising members of the OBSID Board as well as the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) Management Committee are currently reviewing and assessing a wide range of proposals received in response to this call.

We’re hoping that this project delivers road-map to commemorate key aspects of the heritage and history of Observatory, ensuring that both the process and the outcome are underpinned by community engagement, inclusivity and representivity across the whole neighbourhood.

Strategic green infrastructure: OBSID has partnered with Communitree to activate a greening strategy intended to restore indigenous vegetation in the public spaces. 

Through community training, it’s hoped that this approach will also be rolled out to private and kerbside gardens by a group of “greeners” who are gaining the skills and knowledge to propagate and plant responsibly.

At the moment, community volunteers are looking after home nurseries and growing plants to grow plants for use in the public spaces of Observatory. These volunteers have been drawn both from the OBSID work-based rehabilitation team and the broader community.  Sixteen people are active in the project at the moment and we’ll be planting out our first public space in June 2021.

Public safety

We have a very well-organized, extensive public safety service in Observatory in partnership with our safety contractor, Securitas. This includes 24/7/265 foot and vehicle patrols backed up by a control room and technology such as licence plate recognition (LPR) systems.  We trialled a community safety app in the second half of 2020, providing the community with another channel to report issues and request assistance in the public spaces.  We work closely with Woodstock SAPS and have assisted with 21 arrests so far this year.

With already high levels of unemployment, the impact of the Covid-18 pandemic and increasing poverty there has been an overall upward trend in criminal incidents across Cape Town.  In 2021, we have noted a slight increase in incidents in Observatory, mostly vehicle related thefts and muggings / assaults.  We’re constantly adjusting our deployments to respond to crime trends and can see the impact of the efforts of our community safety team in keeping the community of Observatory safe.

One of the biggest challenges we face is underreporting to SAPS - many of the incidents can be linked to a few  criminally minded individuals, but most of the victims are not willing to open cases, so although we follow up and pass information along to SAPS about crime related incidents, they can’t act or deploy resources. 

For example, in the past year, only 27% of the total number of battery thefts recorded by OBSID were reported to SAPS. Active citizenry is needed – the residents of Obs must report incidents to the police to help us tackle crime, and get the SAPS resources we need in the area.  Residents also need to be more vigilant about their property and possessions.

Cleaning and greening

The OBSID urban management team works staggered shifts, seven days a week, tackling hotspots, collecting dumping, completing dumpsite runs and picking up litter. In addition, they do weeding, deep cleaning and drain cleaning across Observatory.

The OBSID cleaning teams collect over 1000 bags of refuse off the streets a week on average – over and above the City of Cape Town’s refuse service collection services.

Illegal dumping remains a continual challenge. Our team is doing an excellent job, but in some instances, people take advantage of our efficiency– they know we will pick up refuse, so they dump their household, restaurant or business waste on the streets.  We need to work together as a community to stop this selfish behaviour.

Relationships with the City’s Solid Waste department are good and we enjoy high levels of cooperation from them when we have issues.

We are very grateful to our partner, Straatwerk for their regular work throughout Observatory, tackling tagging and graffiti.  They provide an excellent service to us.

OBSID has continued to revitalize the green spaces of Observatory, by neatening and cleaning up the parks and verges. Our ongoing partnership with Green4Life Gardeners continues to deliver good results.

Social development and support

Our social development programmes are strong.  We have a sound programme framework that includes outreach, individual case management, linkage services and access to work-based rehabilitation and supportive housing. 

The entire management team has recently completed a harm reduction training programme in partnership with SANPUD (South African network for People who Use Drugs), deepening our understanding of the challenges our clients face as regards substance use and better understanding how we respond to this in our work-based rehabilitation and supportive housing programmes as well as in our interactions with those living on the streets.

We’ve seen significant impact through our linkage work – attending hospital and clinic visits with clients, thereby ensuring that they are able to access healthcare and other services.  We’ve seen more and more of those living on the streets of Observatory receiving medical treatment, resuming chronic medication use and being assessed for participation in Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) through TB HIV Care.

We have a team of medical doctors that is a wonderful resource and they have guided our team through a number of clients presenting with medical issues in the past months – including correcting the dosage of medication prescribed by the day hospital for one of our clients after he complained of side effects.

Our work-based rehabilitation programme offers daily structure, group sessions, a participation stipend and the chance to belong to something and practice life and work skills. 

The team attend Working on Wellness (life skills, breathing techniques and yoga) sessions with the Obs Pasta Kitchen each Wednesday and have recently completed an 8-week programme on GBV / gender rights with Mosaic.

Clients of the work-based rehabilitation programme are drawn from the chronic homeless population of Observatory (having been on the streets for longer than 10 years) – one of whom is currently enrolled in programmes with the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre.

As part of our effort to address homelessness, we’re continuing to operate a supportive housing project called the Obz Rainbow House.  Our development partner, Khulisa Streetscapes, was forced to withdraw from active management of the programme earlier in 2021, so the OBSID is currently fulfilling this role.

We have a community of 7-9 people living in the house (with room for more), strong supervision standards and community agreed behaviours and consequences frameworks. 

Unfortunately, the lack of funding means that the project may have to close later in 2021, so we’re appealing for assistance from the Observatory community to sustain it.  We’re grateful for the support of our community partner, the Obs Pasta Kitchen, who have come on board as fundraiser.

Opened in lockdown last year The Obz Rainbow House has been a place of refuge for members of the street based community of Observatory who were looking to take the next step, get off the streets and find work and shelter. Daily support and work, hot meals, a sense of community and a warm bed has given the group living here a new lease on life. 

We need community support to raise awareness about this great project and to keep it open through winter.  We’re hoping to raise R60 000-00 towards rental and living costs until the end of September 2021.  If more is raised and a development and funding partner is secured, we might be able to keep this important project open longer term.

If you’re able to make a monetary donation to the Obz House, you can do so through the Obs Pasta Kitchen - please see banking details below:

Obs Pasta Kitchen: International Association for Human Values  
Reference: ObzHouse
Bank: First National Bank 
Branch: Lenasia Branch 
Branch code: 250737 
Account number: 620456

Correspondence from Obs residents

Good Day Leslie,  

Trust you are well. 

Noticed yesterday from about 10h45 - 12h45 someone piloting a drone over residences lower main road, Gordon, Arnold and Milton road.  in fact it hovered over our back yard for some time before they noticed i had seen it.  Quite high up - about 30 - 50 metres perhaps… As you know, It is illegal to fly drones over residences in South Africa. It presents a major security risk and other hazards related to UAV piloting over residential areas.  Be aware that this is happening.  It is not the first time, however the first time I have seen it.  I’ve heard drones flying before and not seen them. So that’s the latest.  There is an increased incidence in drone-related crime incidents globally.  

Stay Safe! 

Warm regards 

Sonja ter Horst 


The OCA forwarded Sonja's request to Paddy Chapple to advise to whom a complaint should be directed. 


Sent: Monday, 31 May 2021 11:41 
To: Leslie London <
Subject: Re: Drones flying over residences in observatory 
Can you advise to whom this complaint should be directed? 
SAPS or City Law Enforcement 
Leslie London 


Dear Lesley, 
Drones are regulated by the SA Civil Aviation Regulations which in turn are enforced by the SA Civil Aviation  Authority. 
Alderman Paddy Chapple 
Ward 57 
Ithemba Constituency 
Community Services Portfolio 

Observatory Library has reopened!

We have new opening hours: 
Monday - Friday: 9am - 4pm 
Saturday: 9am – 12pm 

Please note that the library will be closed from 21 to 24 June 2021 for stock-taking. 

Our current services are: 

  • 30 minute browsing for books, graphic novels and dvds 
  • Smartcape (free computer access) for 45 minutes 
  • Assistance with online vaccination registration 
  • Study space for students only. 2 hour time slots (9.00-11.00, 11.15-13.15, 13.30-15.30) 

Reading in the library is not allowed at the moment. The latest newspapers and magazines are only available on the Pressreader app. Please contact the library for more information on this. 

We also have a large selection of books for sale at very reasonable prices. 

The Friends of Observatory Library assist in fundraising for activities and programmes. We also help with the provision of extra resources and maintenance that the library requires. 

We are asking the Observatory community for the following donations and support: 

  • Extra sneeze screens for the front desk 
  • Paint donations (the library’s interior needs a fresh coat of paint) 
  • Book donations 

If you are interested in becoming a friend of the library or willing to volunteer in any way, please contact us. 

Contact details:  
Telephone: 021 447 9017 

Comments on the proposal to amend the Western Cape Constitution to abolish the position of Environmental Commissioner

60 Trill Road  
31st May 2021 

To the Standing Committee on Premier and Constitutional Matters  
Western Cape Provincial Parliament  
Wale St Cape Town  

Comments on the proposal to amend the Western Cape Constitution to abolish the position of Environmental Commissioner:  

1. The Observatory Civic Association wishes to make the following comments as input to the Western Cape parliamentary discussion on the abolition of the Environmental Commissioner from the Western Cape Constitution as requested by the Western Cape Government. Our comments are based on experience of engaging environmental decision-making, the views of our members regarding this matter, and our reading of the presentation made to the Provincial Parliament as in DEADP-Enviro-Commisisoner-25032021-SC-PCMv2s.pdf.  

2. We note that South Africa faces an unprecedented threat from many different environmental stressors, particularly from Climate Change. We are also parties to numerous international agreements whereby we have committed to many different strategies to protect the environment and to meet goals related to Sustainable Development. It is therefore puzzling why the Western Cape government would even think of abolishing the position of Environmental Commissioner at this point. On the contrary, we believe that the W Cape government should welcome the appointment of such a commission with additional powers to ensure good environmental governance and public access to an independent authority in this regard.  

3. A number of motivations have been presented in a Provincial document circulated with the call for comments. The document is titled DEADP-Enviro-Commisisoner-25032021-SC-PCMv2s.pdf. Although we are not sure of the status of this document, we respond to the arguments in this document on the basis that we understand this is the current position of DEADP on this matter.DCAS Award Winner, 2018 for Most Active Conservation Body; NPO number: 174 - 174 NPO 60 Trill Road, Observatory, 7925; phone 082 731 0830 2 4. It is unclear on what basis the Provincial Government believes that duplication exists with respect to the functions of an Environmental Commissioner, not whether the 2009 Farlam Opinion is germane to deciding on whether duplication exists. What appears to be the case was that the Farlam opinion was relevant to whether the Province should proceed with amending the Constitution and/or when it should do so.  

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