Photo Credit: DarkPark
Tafelberg towering above Cape Town.

Two Cape Town Jewish real estate developers sent an email this week to the Jews of Cape Town, warning them to stay away from a public meeting to discuss the future of the “controversial Tafelberg property,” AllAfrica reported Wednesday.

Tafelberg (Afrikaans for table mountain) is a prominent, flat-topped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town. It is a major tourist attraction, part of the Table Mountain National Park, complete with a cableway and hiking paths to the top. Tafelberg also includes site where the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School (PJJDS) wishes to build a new school. This plan could conflict with a plan heralded by two activist groups, Ndifuna Ukwazi (NZ) and Reclaim the City, who want it to be used for affordable housing.


On its website, NZ predicts that “over the next two decades, struggle for equality will be fought in cities. It is our cities that have the greatest potential to enable poor and working class people to advance economically and socially.” But it turns out that the rich are getting richer even in post-apartheid South Africa, and so, according to NZ, “elite land capture, construction and successive waves of inner city regeneration and gentrification, have accrued significant wealth for a few while excluding or displacing poor and working class people to ghettoes, slums and informal settlements.”

In fact, NZ claims, “the historic legacy of colonial and apartheid era radicalized urban planning and spatial segregation has been reinforced by successive post-apartheid governments.”

According to AllAfrica, the province, which is debating the future of the property, last November released a financial model that includes affordable housing, asking for public comments to be submitted by January 30.

Reporter Nathan Geffen, who received a copy of the Wednesday email that was sent to most of the Jews of Cape Town, wrote that it came from Samuel Seeff, CEO of Seeff Properties and chair of the Western Province Priorities and Planning Board; and from Lance Katz, vice-chair of the PJJDS.+

The email states, according to Geffen, discourage members of the Jewish community from attending the Tafelberg property meeting, of course with the proviso that the authors agree that ” it is not our place to stop any member of our community from attending NU’s public meeting.”

The email continues: “The Cape Town Jewish Community has a firm economic and legal interest in the Tafelberg Property through the PJJDS and by virtue of PJJDS having legally won the tender by Province for purchase of the Tafelberg property.” Which is why “it would therefore be inappropriate for any other member of the community or community organization to engage with NU on this matter in anything other than their personal capacity.”

The email to the Jews of Cape Town concludes with an ominous, if not outright intimidating note: “Please be aware that any engagement on your part (even in a personal capacity and however well intentioned) may be detrimental to the community’s interest given the sensitive nature of this matter at this time.”

Obviously the Jews of South Africa, including Cape Town, are living under the shadow of both black on white and gentile on Jew threats of violence, and so, as a repressed community (despite their wealth), they communicate in code. So that the phrase “…given the sensitive nature of this matter at this time,” could mean many unpleasant things.


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