Foreigner pays R7m for Smitswinkel Bay land

Fourty hectares at Smitswinkel Bay, one of the Peninsula's last pieces of undeveloped coastal property, has been sold at auction for R7.73 million to a foreigner living in South Africa.

The sum includes VAT and commission.

Whenever the land has changed hands, residents have feared the buyer may use it for a housing development, which would ruin the character of the area. The land was last auctioned in 2001 for R3m, but the buyer, a consortium, did not build on it.

The land surrounds but excludes the 29 cottages at Smitswinkel Bay, borders the Cape Peninsula National Park and falls within the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment. There is no electricity, refuse removal or road access for the cottages.

Special permission must be granted by the provincial authorities for rezoning or development and previous applications have been turned down.

The land's rural zoning allows buildings that occupy only 500m2, which would allow one home.

But Alan Scully, a director of Michael James, the auctioneer of the property, said the buyer was made aware of the land's restrictions and was in possession of the title deed dated 1915.

Michael Slayen of Table Mountain National Park said the land was a priority for inclusion in the park and was to become a World Heritage Site.

The park, however, could not afford the prices fetched at the last two auctions. One option would be a long-term lease on the land. Another would be the land being given to the park, but it high value made this unlikely.

Article from: