Mandalay, Montclair forum demands equal services

Avron Plaatjies, councillor for Ward 76, signs a memorandum handed to him by Bongisa Daniso, chairwoman of Mandalay/Montclair Unemployed Youth Development Forum. Behind them are Solomon Philander, Wolfgat Sub-council chairman and councillor for Ward 116, and Soraya Rigby, proportional representation (PR) councillor in Sub-council 17.

Employment opportunities and service delivery issues in Mandalay and Montclair have been flagged with Wolfgat Sub-council.

Sub-council chairman Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 116, and Avron Plaatjies, councillor for Ward 76, hosted a media briefing on Friday September 1, in response to a peaceful march and memorandum handover by representatives from the Mandalay/Montclair Unemployed Youth Development Forum on Tuesday August 22.

Mr Philander welcomed the protest but disputed their demands in stating that Mr Plaatjies had been addressing residents concerns across Ward 76, including Ikwezi Park; Mandalay; Lentegeur, north-east of the central railway line; Montclair; The Farm and Montrose Park – since the Sub-council was constituted on February 16 last year (“Sub-council 12 in progress”, Plainsman February 23, 2022).

He said it needed time and the budget to address problems the community had been having for years but they wanted addressed in the last 18 months.

The forum in its memorandum claimed that Mandalay and Montclair have been marginalised in terms of employment opportunities; had limited access to their local community hall; that Mr Plaatjies did not have specific public meetings in their area; challenged the City of Cape Town’s expanded public works programme (EPWP) that opportunities were not distributed within the area; called for transparency in job allocations; and that Mr Plaatjies was only addressing the needs of other residents in the ward.

Mr Philander said they have been working with the whole of Ward 76 and that over the years between elections, from being split between two sub-councils, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, it was now entirely in Wolfgat Sub-council.

He said they have been discussing with the City manager to have the service demarcation aligned with the wards.

According to the memorandum, the demarcation of Mandalay and Montclair was used as an “excuse to render services”.

“Sub-council 12 and Sub-council 9 do not want to take responsibility when it comes to service delivery in our areas,” read the memorandum.

Mr Plaatjies said that he had been holding regular meetings but that the forum wanted to be addressed exclusively.

“I have been meeting with residents in the different areas across my ward,” he said.

Sub-council manager Johnson Fetu, Sub-council chairman Solomon Philander and councillor for Ward 76 Avron Plaatjies.

Forum chairwoman Bongisa Daniso told the Plainsman yesterday, Tuesday September 5, that since the protest the Sub-council had been hard at work to address their concerns like contacting youth for employment opportunities.

Service delivery complaints were being seen to faster, including the filling of potholes and fixing of cameras.

“They started to take us seriously, when after the march we again chased away people from Ward 92, working in our ward and demanded that they employ our residents,” she said.

City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said the demarcation process did not mean more resources but rather that an official within Mitchell’s Plain would be assigned.

“In other words, the Sub-council boundary is to be aligned with the servicing department to ensure efficient service delivery,” he said.

Mr Tyhalibongo said that due to labour relations processes, staff could not automatically aligned to the sub-council.

“Line departments need to advise Sub-council in terms of the progress,” he said.

Shakes Mahlaba, a project manager in the sub-forum of Mandalay, Montclair, Montrose Park and Watergate under Sector 1, told the Plainsman on Monday September 4 that they want a meeting with Mr Plaatjies, Sub-council manager Johnson Fetu, City departments of solid waste, community services, parks, electricity, roads, stormwater and sewerage and Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis at Mandalay community hall on Thursday September 14 at 6pm.