Carte Blanche

Full Response: Hout Bay Harbour

29 May 2022
Hout Bay harbour is in tatters. We approached Department of Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille for comment - here's what her department had to say.
Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche Questions for Minister De Lille- Hout Bay harbour

  1. Hout Bay harbour is one of the top tourist destinations in Cape Town but is in serious decline- in 2017/2018 tenants met with DEFF, DPW and other senior Government officials and were told it was set to be revamped as part of the Operation Phakisa – R10 million was spent on plans- since then they have had no feedback. What happened to the plan for Hout Bay harbour?
  • The DPWI spent approximately R20 million on the development of detailed Spatial and Economic Development Frameworks (SEDFs) for all 13 Proclaimed Fishing Harbours in the Western Cape. The SEDFs were commissioned in 2012 and provides a complete master plan for the redevelopment of each harbour in a phased manner.
  • During the development of the SEDFs a number of engagements took place with all the surrounding communities of Hout Bay Harbour.
  • Hout Bay harbour was part of the Small Harbours Repairs and maintenance programme where the scope of work under included: removal of sunken vessels, repairs to slipways, shore crane replacements, security, civil and electrical infrastructure upgrades at a cost of R501 million across the 13 Proclaimed Fishing Harbours in the Western Cape.
  • The R501million Small Harbours Repairs and Maintenance programme at the 13 proclaimed fishing harbours has created a total of 925 jobs of which over 500 work opportunities were granted to the youth.
  • The programme also empowered 142 local SMMEs to the value of over R116 million of which 73 companies were level 1 BBBEE companies.
  • The removal of sunken vessels programme was the first activity to be completed with a total of 29 vessels removed at various harbours, 15 of those vessels were removed at the Hout Bay Harbour.
  • DPWI grasped at the opportunity at the Hout Bay harbour removal of sunken vessels project which allowed 9 informal divers (many which were former poachers) including 1 woman being trained as Class 3 Commercial Divers to assist with the work for the Hout Bay Harbour removal of sunken vessels project. (This was profiled by Carte Blanche in late 2019)
  • The removal of sunken vessels project in Hout Bay alone created a total of 110 jobs and empowered 11 SMMEs to the value of approximately R4,5 million.
  • Engagements with the surrounding communities took place between DPWI and included stakeholders such as the recognised leaders and Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) from both the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities.
  • SMME beneficiaries included:
    • Basadi on Hangberg – Level 1 BBBEE
    • Hangberg Clean and Projects – Level 1 BBBEE
    • Mabhuti & Son – Level 1 BBBEE
    • RS Divers Hout Bay
  • Job beneficiaries were sourced from surrounding communities including Hangberg, Imizamo Yethu and the Valley which are three main communities surrounding the Hout Bay Harbour.
  • The Small Harbours Repairs and Maintenance programme included getting the harbours into an operational state for the benefit of our user department: the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), the tenants, harbour users and visitors alike.


  1. At the Hermanus meeting in 2018 some tenants were assured of long term lease- currently they still operating on a month to month basis, they can get no answers about what a market related rental is- what is the plan for Hout bay harbour with regards to leases?
  • The Department is working hard to finalise long term leases as the decision to stop month-to-month leases has been flagged by the Auditor General as irregular expenditure.
  • Hout Bay Harbour is divided into various lots. The Regional Office has entered into lease agreements with various lessees in respect of the various lots.
  • Constitutional provision in s217 states: “When an organ of state in the national, provincial and local sphere of government or any other institution identified in national legislation, contracts for goods or services, it must do so in accordance with a system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective”
  • Currently there are 78 leases for Hout Bay harbour with 2 leases for a 25 year period, 1 on a 20 year lease, 1 five year lease, 42 running on a month to month bases while 32 sites are vacant.
  • In order to give effect to the implementation of the new Letting-Out Circular, Investment Analysis and Valuation Reports need to be conducted in respect of all the properties; once finalised the properties will be advertised for letting-out via the open tender process.
  • The department will be advertising the properties to be let out as soon as all internal processes have been completed.


  1. Is transformation of who leases the properties the hold up, is the problem that not sufficient tenants are of colour are currently investing?
  • No, we at all times aim to ensure transformation within our lease portfolio and we certainly encourage previously disadvantaged groups to apply for leases.
  • In terms of the Department’s new Letting–Out Circular (Business Process) it is mandatory that all new and expired lease agreements be advertised to the public via an open tender process. This is in line with Section 217 of the Constitution and empowerment directives of the Department


  1. Who is responsible for the security in Hout bay harbour- tenants are bouncing between DEFF and DPW and can’t get support or answers from either?
  • Both the DPWI and Department of Forestry, Fisheries Departments and Environment (DFEE), has responsibility to play within each harbour precinct.
  • In terms of the Marine and Living Resources Act, 1998, the DFFE is responsible for the regulation, monitoring and the management of the fishing activities and fishery stock within South Africa. DFFE is further responsible for the day-to-day management. This includes all harbour operations, access control, compliance and security of precincts.
  • DPWI as the custodian of the State-land within the fishing harbours, is responsible for the development and maintenance of the infrastructure within the harbours (breakwaters, quays, jetties, slipway, hoists, roads, parking areas etc.) as well as the letting of the State land and the structures thereon ( in terms of the State Land Disposal Act, 1961).
  • Security is the responsibility of the user department, DFFE. Earlier this year, a meeting was held with the DFFE to discuss land invasion and other matters related to properties under the management of DFFE.
  • But the departments agreed that we put our resources together and DFEE will thereafter refund DPWI.
  • The DPWI initiated an urgent intervention with the DFFE to discuss solutions regarding the securing of the Harbour as a whole.
  • During the meeting it was agreed that the security costs will be shared between the two Departments due to the urgency of the matter.
  • In December 2020, DPWI deployed security for a period of 4 months to safeguard the entire harbour in order to prevent further vandalism on the infrastructure that had been recently upgraded by our Projects Component or Small Harbours Development Unit.
  • Security was appointed to control access and safeguarding the Oceana Building. Due to high level of vandalism and criminal activities that are happening at the harbour, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure appointed and deployed the tactical security for a period of one month from April 2022 to regain the stability at the harbour.
  • The user department (DFFE) appointed the security company and this was beefed-up by tactical security.
  • The Harbour Master, SAPS and Tenants also confirmed the stability brought by the tactical team, according to SAPS  crime stats has decreased with 40% and the incidents of vandalism has stopped
  • Since the harbour is stabilised the department is in a process to appoint the normal guards of 10 guards per shift.
  • What is sad about this very good infrastructure upgrading project is that serious and ongoing vandalism of infrastructure at Hout Bay Harbour has been occurring.
  • This infrastructure is meant to serve the communities and local businesses.
  • There has been vandalism to two buildings (known as the old Lucky Star factory and IDC building) in Hout Bay Harbour.
  • Most of the challenges / vandalism experienced are within Hout Bay Harbour as is always been considered a “hot spot”, well known for crime, drugs, poaching and protests.
  • Hout Bay Harbour has continuously been inundated with sporadic and very co-ordinated spates of vandalism on State infrastructure and violence towards those serving to protect the assets of the State: Security personnel.
  • Various spates of vandalism took place at the harbour between August 2021 and December 2021, the following is a summary of vandalism which took place at Hout Bay harbour which has a huge negative impact on harbour users and the surrounding community.
  • Damaged infrastructure has been repaired by DPWI contractors on numerous occasions with contractors even being threatened by community members and vandals.
  • On several occasions, the appointed security personal were also overpowered by vandals.
  • Security personnel apprehended vandals who stripped approximately 160 metres of electrical cable and tenant/s are left without electricity. Vandals were arrested and the stolen property is kept as evidence at the Hout Bay Police Station.
  • Numerous cases of vandalism, theft and robbery have been opened, with the Hout Bays SAPS, by the Harbour Master and the Department in relation to the precinct as well as damages to State property and many arrests have already been made.
  • Case numbers of various cases registered at Hout Bay SAPS:
  • Case no. 142/ 2/ 2022
  • Case no. 15/2/2022
  • Case no. 170/12/2021
  • Case no. 195/12/2021
  • Case no. 238/12/2021
  • Case no. 88/1/2022
  • Case no. 100/01/2022
  • Case no. 101/01/2022
  • Case no. 160/04/2022


  1. There were many people who wanted to rent the former Oceana premises- and made enquiries before the lease expired but got no response from DPW. Why were no new tenants secured?
  • Only three (Southern Ambition, Hout Bay Aquaculture Farmers Secondary Co and Sea Freeze) request were received all interest on lot 88 and one of the three interested parties is occupying lot 88. No other requests were received.


  1. In December 2021 the first roof sheets started to be removed and Gregg Louw- the Vice Chair of the Hangberg Peace and Mediation forum contacted DPW, no action was taken to secure the building apart from bricking up the windows. In February when it became blatant that the building was being taken apart DPW and DEFF were informed,only in April after a fire at Blue Fin factory was started were 15 armed guards deployed, why did it take so long, in effect after the horse had bolted, and how long can the tenants expect this kind of protection?
  • No, DPWI has had security in place since December 2021, DPWI deployed security for a period of 4 months to safeguard the entire harbour in order to prevent further vandalism on the infrastructure that had been recently upgraded by our Projects Management.
  • On certain occasions, security was overpowered and threats also made against contractors who came to repair vandalised infrastructure.
  • The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure appointed and deployed the tactical security at Hout Bay Harbour on an emergency delegation from the 24 April 2022 until the 25 May 2022 to safeguard the property 24 hours as there were illegal activities happening at the harbour such as robbery, theft, poaching, prostitution, sabotage and selling of drugs inside the harbour. 
  • The tactical team was then appointed for a period of one (1) month and crime statistics has decreased with 40% within the harbour according to SAPS statistical report.
  • The harbour is safe again as the company was sweeping day and night and conduct patrols inside and outside the harbour premises in an hourly basis, inspecting the IDC burnt building, Jetties entrances, Long Key, Slip Way,  Harbour Master office and Compliance building to check any irregularities.  The incidents that were reported were fewer as the site was monitored by the tactical security services. 
  • The Harbour continues to be guarded by a Tactical Response Company.