Councillor allocates R120 000 to job creation projects

Principal of Oval North Technical High School in Beacon Valley, Na-aim Kassiem, raising his concerns.

Residents in Ward 79 – which covers Beacon Valley, Eastridge, the Mitchell’s Plain central business district (Town Centre) and parts of Portland – want young people in the community employed in job creation projects in the area.

Ward councillor Solomon Philander discussed the budget set out for his ward with the community at a ward meeting at the Beacon Valley community centre on Thursday September 5.

Mr Philander also highlighted the issue of vandalism in the area at the meeting.

“Across sub-stations, all wires were taken off by the bad elements in the area. Sometimes community members are aware of these problems. It needs to be reported. If we do not act on this and take measures then this may become a (bigger) problem in the future,” he said.

He said they have created jobs for people to keep the streets clean in Ward 79.

Mr Philander said R120 000 had been allocated for job creation projects in Ward 79.

He said a further R90 000 from Ward 79’s budget would be dedicated to capacity building for the youth.

Mr Philander said they also shared information on the indigent benefits that seniors qualify for. He said there are many benefits people qualify for but they do not apply. “We have capacity building for community members, they do not come forward,” he said.

He said there were young people who wanted to study but often left it too late to apply. “They need to be prepared to apply to institutions in the previous year, prepare themselves for the jobs they are looking into in the future,” he said.

In May this year, council approved the Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre Central Improvement District (CID). A management entity will pay more on rates to plough back into the Town Centre.

“This area attracts the criminals but we need to be sharper than them,” Mr Philander said.

Fencing had been put up in the area and more fencing would go up with simple exit points to manage the activities there, he said.

“We’re going to make sure the Town Centre gets back to its former glory,” pledged Mr Philander.

Eastridge resident Gerald Brown said young people should be roped into job creation initiatives in the area. “We don’t want gangsters in our community so let’s give the youth something to do so that they do not have to roam around and get caught up in crime,” he said.

More ward committee members should have been at the meeting and be part of the conversation, he said.

Na-aim Kassiem, principal at Oval North Technical High School in Beacon Valley, asked why Ward 116 councillor Michael Pietersen was not present at the meeting.

Ward 116 includes Beacon Valley, parts of the Mitchells Plain industrial area and Liberty Promenade Mall, Bongani (the old Denel site), Ikwezi Park and Montrose Park (The Farm).

“What is your plan for this area as it is suffering very badly. It spills over into Ward 79. How did we get into Mr Philander’s ward?,” asked Mr Kassiem. Mr Philander said Mr Pietersen would have a meeting in neighbouring Mandalay in the coming weeks.

Portland resident Rochelle Edson said drug users, homeless people and prostitutes had been making themselves at home on her doorstep. She had made contact with Mr Philander whom she said did not respond well to her.

“We need to stand together to get things improved in our communities,” she said.

Mr Philander apologised for Ms Edson’s experience and said fencing had been put up in her area to keep undesirable elements out. He said the problems in the area will be dealt with.

Zahid Badroodien, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, said the City had been connecting young people to opportunities. “We have programmes in place for our children and train them accordingly. With ward councillors, residents and officials, it is a three-way relationship. We need to work together to make it work,” he said.