City makes grant-in-aid available

Rubin Booysen, chairman of Mizpah Educare Centre, Anthea Arendse, principal, Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 79 and chairman of Wolfgat Sub-council, Desiree Mentor, acting sub-council manager; Janine Overmeyer, Blaq Pearl Foundation director; and her husband SA table tennis champion, Shane Overmeyer, who is also the operations director.

Three Mitchell’s Plain organisations, who received a total of R560 000 grant-in-aid funding from the City of Cape Town, will have to tweak their business plans and adjust how they meet the community to operate within the regulations of the national Covid-19 lockdown.

Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, in collaboration with Mitchell’s Plain-based youth mentorship project, DAD (Decision Affects Destinies), received R280 000; the Blaqpearl Foundation, in Portland, which teaches young people arts, life skills, literature, sport to entrepreneurship and non-violence as a means of expression, received
R60 000; and Mizpah Educare Centre, in Beacon Valley, aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles for both parents and children, received
R220 000 – to be spent between July 1 this year and June 30 next year.

They have to report to Wolfgat Sub-council within six months on how they have met their targets and consult local councillors on whether they need to make any adjustments or changes to their business plans.

The Blaqpearl Foundation’s Janine Overmeyer and the educare’s Anthea Arendse were at the official signing of the memorandum of agreements (MOA) at the sub-council office, in Lentegeur on Friday June 5.

Both of them were excited to sign the document and receive the money, which they applied for months ago but said they would have to think carefully about how best they would reach the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Arendse said a lot had transpired since she applied for the funding in January.

“We want to influence our community positively through the early childhood development (ECD) sphere. We want to feed and meet the needs of the whole child, which is difficult with physical distancing, lockdown regulations and changes to everyday ‘normal’ human interaction,” she said.

They are targeting 100 people – 60 children and 40 adults, including teachers, principals and parents – in Eastridge and Beacon Valley.

Ms Overmeyer said they would have to look at how best to distribute resources and ensure the maximum number of people benefit.

“Through our programmes they learn a sense of identity, culture, self-awareness and self-love.

“We are about using the arts, life skills, literature and sport as tools to encourage the youth to break away from and cope with the harsh realities and social ills, like gangsterism, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy or parenting, among others, that are rife in the communities on the Cape Flats,” she said.

Their target is about 100 young women, aged between 14 and 35, either in school or unemployed but living in Mitchell’s Plain.

The drug counselling centre and DAD collaboration had previously been funded as well and reported during the January sub-council meeting that the programme catered for up to 120 parents and 100 pupils, between 12 and 14 years old, highlighting potential pitfalls, social ills they may face and empowers the pupils to make decisions which impact positively on their destinies. The brain-child of Eddie Andrews, councillor for Ward 78 (Westridge and parts of Portland), the programme includes a focus on the development of the drug user’s family and teaches them how to support and prevent them from relapsing.

The programme was on the agenda to explain the grant-in-aid expenditure of R305 000 on this project in the past financial year.

Mr Potts said the prevention programme exposed youth to healthy alternatives.

“We focus on youth development, including skills training, capacity building, youth recreation and awareness; substance abuse (prevention programmes); sports and recreation (facilitate and recreation projects),” he said.

Desiree Mentor, acting manager of the Wolfgat Sub-council, explained that if organisations needed to adjust their business and project plans to comply with lockdown regulations, they would have to run it past the sub-council.

Solomon Philander, chairman of the sub-council and councillor for Ward 79 (Beacon Valley, Eastridge, Mitchell’s Plain CBD and parts of Portland) said: “It is ratepayers’ and taxpayers’ money that we have to be accountable for and so, when we disperse that money we must be sure every cent will be spent according to your business plan and what has been approved”.

He said they were living through a difficult time, with the pandemic but that the community organisations had stepped up to help those in need and fill gaps, which the ward allocation or expertise of the groups could not reach. “It is the organisations who have given so much of themselves, from their own coffers to help the community.”

The City makes grants-in-aid available to organisations to fund projects that benefit the community and assist the municipality in realising its goals and objectives as set out by the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).