A vision for the future…

Premier Alan Winde engages with Mitchells Plain United Residents Association chairman, Norman Jantjes.

Premier Alan Winde has pledged to partner Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) with government departments and help them map their 2020 and beyond vision for the area.

He was the guest speaker at the association’s “Re-imagining Mitchell’s Plain: 2020 and Beyond” meeting at the Sub-council chambers in Lentegeur, on Saturday November 16.

Last year, Willie Simmers, from the Mitchell’s Plain Community Advice Development Project (MPCADP); Danny Rass, chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain People’s Forum; Abie Isaacs, chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) and residents joined in the conversation for the first “Re-Imagining Mitchell’s Plain Summit” (“Plan to get ’Plain to take off”, Plainsman November 21, 2018).

Mura and the Development Action Group (DAG) have been hard at work to get local government officials to help build a better Mitchell’s Plain.

Earlier this year they hosted a workshop mapping the area, its residential make-up, the economy, business opportunities and safety (“Call to grow commerce”, Plainsman July 3, 2019).

“I do want to make a commitment to Mitchell’s Plain. There are a million people who live here. It is important to me. Mitchell’s Plain is important to me,” Mr Winde said.

He committed to link Mura with the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, an independent, not-for-profit company that works with a range of partners to improve the performance of Cape Town and the Western Cape’s socio-economic development system.

“I’m going to task them with coming and helping you build the partnerships that you need.

“How do we bring the right people into the room and think about the overall vision (for Mitchell’s Plain).”

Mr Winde also called for a Mitchell’s Plain investor and business conference within the next six-months to a year.

“So that we call in the existing investors. We have a look at the potential investors. We make sure the economic departments of the City and Province are here, with the skills, development, link with artisanal skills,” he said.

In answer to call from MURA to make Mitchell’s Plain safer, to stop investors and residents from moving out of the area, to welcome business back and keep them here to grow the economy, Mr Winde told MURA to get 20 people together, call them the Mitchell’s Plain Safety Forum, which they should register as a neighbourhood watch.

Once registered they would receive R10 000 into their account, which could be used to help start core meetings.

He also asked that they map events like the Mitchell’s Plain Dstv Festival later this month and the Cape Flats Book Festival, which happened in September and log them as economic opportunities to support and get involved with.

The premier’s speech detailed the need for the association to have a vision for Mitchell’s Plain, for residents and businesses to work towards a safer, economically viable and flourishing community.

He said the vision should be clear, “this place where we are going to”.

Mr Winde spoke about Elon Musk, a South African now a global billionaire technology entrepreneur, investor, and engineer, whose vision it is to live on Mars.

He asked where and what is Mitchell’s Plain’s Mars.

“I see the plan but what is the vision. What is the brand? Where are we going?”

Community worker Dilsha Ishmail, 73, from Westridge, speaking as an elder, said development is painful.

“It is not just physical, it goes beyond that.

“We’ve been working. We hear the pleas. We hear the cries and we try on our side to do what isbest for us in Mitchell’s Plain.

“We are unique and we are proud to be these citizens,” she said.

She asked what was needed to change the mindset and whether it should be a criteria for organisations to get resources.

“We need to build capacity for our people. We have been lacking for all the years. In all types of skills even by understanding, even by coming to such forums. This is real,” she said.

Ms Ishmail said Mitchell’s Plain needed capacity to change the mindset.

“Sir, as you do remember, we come from a broken era and it is going to take decades for us to really come to grips with what you are asking,” she said.

MURA chairman Norman Jantjes spoke of three sectors, which they would like to support and see a change in Mitchell’s Plain.

They are safety and security, and road safety; land and housing; and local economic development.

“We are working towards improved service delivery, from all spheres of government and the private sector for liaising and engaging,” he said.

“We want to create a safer community and address the social ills in Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.