R50‚000 penalty for Constantia hotel operating unlawfully
A boutique hotel‚ restaurant and spa in Cape Town’s Constantia Valley has to pay a R50‚000 penalty for operating without permission.
Steenberg Hotel and its restaurant‚ Catharina’s — part of the business empire built up by wine maker Graham Beck before his death in 2010 — were fined half the amount officials recommended to a City of Cape Town planning tribunal.
Tribunal chairman Dave Daniels said even though the contravention was serious‚ members had decided on a reduced sanction for two reasons:
- “There are approved building plans for all the buildings on the property and therefore there is no risk to public health and safety”; and
- “The main dispute between the owners of the hotel and the city officials was about whether the land use rights were in place. The [tribunal’s] conclusion was that the conduct of the owners was not a wilful disregard for the law but more of a legal/technical contravention in nature.”
In a report to the tribunal‚ planning officials said Beck’s Kangra Group had been a “disingenuous” serial offender since buying Steenberg in 2005.
The company now has to apply for the land-use permission it lacks‚ and hopes to expand the 24-room hotel. Daniels said Kangra was entitled to appeal against the tribunal’s decision.