Transnet, South Africa's state-owned transport company, tried to block a new law which would prevent it from transferring sea and coastal areas in Cape Town to a group of investors, the Sunday Times said.
Transnet lobbied lawmakers to vote against the legislation, which would declare coastlines public property and a national heritage, the Johannesburg newspaper said, citing Peter Moatshe, chairman of the environmental affairs and tourism committee in the National Council of Provinces. The committee found no reason to stall the bill, he added.
Transnet in 2006 sold the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront shopping mall in Cape Town to Istithmar PJSC and London & Regional Properties for $1 billion. The sale included the transfer of 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) of coastline and 90 square kilometers of sea, the Sunday Times said. Transnet could be sued for 20 billion rand ($2.6 billion) if it fails to meet its contractual obligations to transfer the land, the Times added. The deal included plans for reclaiming land from the sea, the newspaper said.Claims against Transnet won't succeed if new laws prevent the company from honoring its commitments, John Dludlu, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Transnet, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.