Budget pleases no one


Nothing but anger and disagreements were on the agenda at the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) public meeting on Thursday April 21, at the Rocklands civic centre.

Mitchell’s Plain residents came out in numbers to listen to the presentation by Sub-council 12 chairperson Eddie Andrews on the proposed R131.4 billion budget for the City of Cape Town.

Sub-council 12 includes, wards 78, 79, 81 and 82. The areas in these wards are Beacon Valley, the Town Centre, Portland, Westgate, Westridge, Beacon Valley, East-ridge, Rocklands; Strandfontein, Tafelsig and Wolfgat Nature Reserve(western part).

The meeting was attended by community and faith-based organisations, Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, Mayco member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg and City of Cape Town officials from various departments.

The proposed budget was presented for review by residents in terms of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000, Chapter 4, part 16. They also have an opportunity to provide input until Saturday April 30.

The City has spread the budget allocations over the next three financial years over five pillars.

The first pillar is, The Opportunity City with a budget of R81.3 billion which is to attract large events and business. It also includes maintenance of equipment and infrastructure such as water, electricity and broadband, as well as effective public transport systems.

The second pillar, The Safe City, with a budget of R9.4 billion, looks at policing and emergency services. The third pillar, The Caring City, with a budget of R14.9 billion, focuses on social services, housing opportunities, primary health care and a healthy environment.

The fourth, The Inclusive City, has a budget allocation of R8.2 billion that includes responsiveness to queries and complaints, City call centres and free-call lines.

The last pillar is The Well-Run City, with a budget of R17.6 billion that includes transparent, corruption-free and effective administration, as well as making sure the City has the necessary cash flow, managing tariffs and ensuring correct municipal billing.

However, at Thursday’s meeting residents were dissatisfied with the figures, with groups of people leaving, while others were screaming at each other as a limited number of people were allowed to speak about issues pertaining to their areas.

Pastor Franklin WIlliams, who has a church in Tafelsig, said he is disappointed in the budget presentation. He said money is being wasted on unnecessary upgrades and developments.

“I cannot believe that this is a budget presentation. Our people are desperate for housing, but instead there are upgrades of depots. In Ward 81 there is no proper developments to benefit residents and projects. We receive no updates on projects and programmes, I feel we are being neglected,” he said.

Colorado Park resident, Rashniyah Lucas from the Colville (Colorado Park/ London Village) Residents’ Association, said her area was being “overlooked”. She said there are no sports fields, libraries and schools in her neighbourhood.

“There are developments and upgrades in other areas but in Colorado Park – nothing. That’s ridiculous. We are also part of Mitchell’s Plain. Why must our children go out of the area to make use of the facilities? When will we be recognised, we want to be part of the budget,” she said.

When residents mentioned Siqalo informal settlement, which is one of the newer informal settlements on a landfill site, off Jakes Gerwel Drive, near Colorado Park, residents were unsettled and wanted answers from officials.

Ebrahim Arendse said: “Why should the whole of Mitchell’s Plain be held to ransom by the people of Siqalo when they burn tyres and block the road? We have to take alternative routes which cost petrol, and it affects our budgets. This issue must be addressed.”

Abdoraof Ismail from Portland asked what was happening at Siqalo. “The residents of Siqalo are receiving water and toilets, are they going to live there permanently? We want answers, because we have to suffer when protests break out and use other routes which is a waste of money.

“Then, Portland has no rent office or clinic, this is not fair to our people,” he said.

Mr Smith said the Siqalo matter is still in court, and the City will provide feedback to the community as the Siqalo informal settlement is on private land.

An angry Portland resident, Oleander Oakes, said Portland had grown in numbers over the years but there were limited public facilities.

“We have been calling for a library for many years, but do we have one – no. We have youth who need these facilities in the area. How are they suppose to empower and educate themselves with books and internet facilities?

“With regards to service delivery, we log calls but we have poor services. Why have a budget with huge amounts but services are poor and delayed?” she asked.

Theresa Motto from the Rocklands Neighbourhood Watch stressed that watch members need a stipend for their services.

“We are out doing patrols day and night, at crime scenes, we are being threatened by gangs and some residents are against us. We need the support of the City. While people are sleeping and officials are safely in their homes, we have to fight crime with limited equipment and resources. We are simply asking for support as these people are volunteering,” she said.

Isaac Hermanus said motorists speed in the area and called for speed humps in his neighbourhood. He also agreed with Ms Oakes that there is a shortage of libraries in Mitchell’s Plain, especially in Woodlands and Portland.

“The cars drive fast and this is extremely dangerous for residents, specifically children. I recall many years back that there were mobile libraries. If you cannot afford to build one, then why not bring the mobile libraries back,” he said.

A total of R229 million is set aside for future operating projects for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19. This is for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which runs across the City.

In the budget it states that flagship projects include the artisans projects with a budget of R4.2 million; a hospitality job placement project with a budget of R1.2 million, a janitorial services project at a cost of R23 million and R12 million for the Kader Asmal Catchment project.

A total of R2.3 million has been set aside for the employment of street people, R2 million for the auxiliary school resource officers and safety officers, R3 million for ward-based area cleaning and R1 million for the women’s road maintenance teams.

In the social category there will be a distribution of early childhood development toolkits and neighbourhood watch protective clothing and radios.

There will also be upgrades of parks in various areas. The parks are, Westridge Gardens, Beacon Valley, Buckingham Road park, Drakensberg park, 16 Legacy Park, and a multipurpose park in Eastridge.

Future projects for Mitchell’s Plain include the Kapteinsklip Station Precinct and Mnandi Coastal Node Development and a traffic circle at Merrydale and Hazeldene avenues

Mr Andrews said it has been proposed that the Kapteinsklip Station Precinct and Mnandi Coastal Node Development be mixed use, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented. The precinct comprises 28 land parcels. It is currently with the Department of Environmental Affairs for EIA approval.

Land uses will include residential, commercial, open space and public facilities.

Mr Andrews said all the comments and suggestions would be collated and forwarded to the responsible department for consideration. “The response from the department would be captured in the final feedback report. Residents must please be mindful of the deadline to submit comments, being April 30. As a sub-council we urge residents to use this opportunity to convey proposals,” he said.

Residents can lodge their comments by downloading the form http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Budget/Pages/Draft-Budget-2016-2017.aspx