SIMONéH DE BRUIN
The tide is turning and it’s red – that’s the message the Economic Freedom Fighters want to convey to Mitchell’s Plain voters with the 2016 local government elections less than four months away.
The political party, known as much for its signature red berets and overalls as its controversial leader, Julius Malema, put out feelers to the Strandfontein community (Ward 43) at a meeting at Dennegeur Primary School on Friday night.
Although the turnout was poor, with only a handful of people in attendance, André Timotheus, of the EFF’s Western Cape Provincial Command Team, said they are looking for EFF field workers to market the EFF in Mitchell’s Plain.
“(Julius) Malema asked us to build the EFF in the Western Cape. We are active in informal settlements but we are also growing the organisation at institutions of higher learning. In Kraaifontein we launched a branch within two months, so it’s not impossible.”
However, resident Ashraf Arendse, warned that there are numerous challenges to growing the EFF in Strandfontein. “I think you need to find the issues affecting Strandfontein. We are a group of people who are full of ourselves. Bread and butter issues for us is not homelessness.
“The issues for Strandfontein are not the same issues for Tafelsig, for Rocklands. Take the culture of Strandfontein into account. Issues have to appeal to Strandfontein,” he argued.
But another resident, Yvonne van Niel, had a reality check in store for residents of Ward 43.
“With ward demarcation for the 2016 local government elections, Strandfontein will no longer be Strandfontein as it is, as you know it. We are getting Philippi, including the horticultural area, as part of the ward. Philippi also has (about) 15 informal settlements. So, Strandfontein the elite, exclusive village, will be no more,” she said.
Ward 43 will also no longer include the section of Rocklands that formed part of the ward. That section between Weltevreden Road and Strandfontein will revert back to Ward 81 (Rocklands and parts of Portland).
The face of Strandfontein is also set to change with the planned Oaklands City development (“Housing project on the cards for Strandfontein”, Plainsman, July 29 2015). It will be a mixed use development, and will include business, retail, offices, industrial, residential – including social and GAP housing, and group and single residential opportunities – primary and secondary schools, tertiary institution, and a civic/ community component.
A final scoping report on Oaklands City, dated September 2014 and drafted by De Villiers Brownlie Associates, states that it is envisaged that development will start in the east, close to existing services and access and will roll out towards the west.
“The connection to Strandfontein Village is also important and this linkage is planned to take place in the earlier stages of the rollout of the development,” the report reads.
To the east, the proposed internal road network makes provision for connections to Vanguard Drive, Morgenster Road, Westpoort Drive and Weltevreden Road. To the west, provision is made for connections to Strandfontein Road and to the south, provision is made for extending Vanguard Drive to Spine Road, as well as a further connection to Spine Road.
Strandfontein resident Mark Tinker said there is no equitable service delivery in the metro. He said major developments and the creation of industrial areas are all taking place elsewhere. “Here, when it comes to development, there’s nothing. The fisher folk who use the road at Strandfontein Pavilion were promised that the road will be fixed but there’s nothing. Instead the road has deteriorated further. A few trees on the pavement does not mean development,” he said.
Woodlands resident Zubair Rushin said people in Mitchell’s Plain have it imprinted on their minds that things had been “okay” under apartheid.
“For them it was better then. Probably because of what was told to them. A lot of people in Cape Town don’t have an open mindset, especially the coloured people. I can guarantee you any person, half the time, will tell you the white man did this for us – gave this to us. Yes, (they) gave you a couple of jobs but they were still in control of you,” he said.
Mr Timotheus said to help them get a foothold in the ward, the EFF will also look at professional forums to pull people in. “The 2016 election is a dry run for 2019; we are building towards 2019. By 2025 we will be the government – we will grow; we will take over from the ANC, from the DA. The issue around land is a major driving force,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DA also chose Mitchell’s Plain – one of the biggest voting blocks in the metro and the DA’s biggest support base – to launch mayor Patricia de Lille’s re-election campaign at the Swartklip regional sports complex in Tafelsig.
Ms De Lille, who has been a regular visitor to Mitchell’s Plain in the past few weeks (“Lentegeur residents raise their concerns with mayor”, Plainsman, April 6), as well as visiting the area on Friday April 8 to encourage residents to register for the upcoming elections, was joined by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane and premier Helen Zille. However, Ms De Lille’s assertion at her re-election campaign launch that the DA is making good progress in Cape Town through the delivering of good, clean governance that prioritises delivery, creates jobs, and continues to improve life in Cape Town, was challenged by Cosatu in a statement.
The union federation said after five years of Ms De Lille in office, the City of Cape Town is even more unequal, with greater levels of racism, that gangs and drugs are more out of control and the Cape Flats is in a terrible state of disrepair compared to suburbs such as Sea Point. “This City is only good at ticking boxes and looking after the wealthy; whilst the poor is neglected,” the statement reads.