Probe Gardens memorial

The structure built in Westridge Gardens.

Pastor Dean Ramjoomia, from Beacon Valley, Nehemiah Call Initiative – Provoking Change 4 Life

This is an open letter to Mayor Dan Plato:

The role, involvement, fit and proper conduct of Eddie Andrews, councillor for Ward 78 (Westrige and parts of Portland), and Elton Jansen, councillor for Ward 43 (Strandfontein and parts of Philippi) and chairman of Sub-council 23, with regards to the Angus Buchan statue or commonly known as the “Mitchell’s Plain flower of Cape Town statue” refers. Who invited them to this meeting in February 2019; what did they understand their purpose was?

I would like you to investigate the request, process and procurement of granting approval for allowing a very tiny group of pastors to build their massive concrete structures in a public park that is Westridge Gardens; to investigate the public participation process and procedures that were followed which includes written, verbal communication or objections; to investigate why other interested or would-be interested groups were not consulted, who might also want to have statues or memorials built and erected in the gardens.

This could have been from Muslim folk, other cultural groups or somebody wanting to build something in memory of the substance abuse pandemic in Mitchell’s Plain.

The point is, mayor, why was there not a proper committee considered or appointed to sit on this matter and discuss this “proposal” and in light of future such back-door request can again be made and approved.

Mr Mayor it is imperative to understand my reasons very clearly. Your municipality prides itself on running a fit and proper process; you follow proper procurement processes and procedures; you uphold proper and transparent public participation process; and that your public officials’ conduct and behaviour is open to public scrutiny.

Allow me to make this point very, very clearly: anyone can ask, request anything legal from councillors but it’s very imperative that the public officials’ responsibility is to advise a public or group of public members what fit and proper procedures are.

As for the request of pastors, there is nothing wrong with them asking and I think that’s what they might have done.

What I need you to investigate is who invited them (councillors) to this meeting in February at West Reach Assembly of God Church and what did they understand they were doing there? What is, if any, connection between everyone? Who gave final approval for this building, were City engineers consulted? Do records of construction approval exits?

I can assure you that tons of meetings between pastors happen in Mitchell’s Plain all of the time and they were not invited.

The fact is that Angus Buchan, via a tiny group of pastors, wanted a statue built and their place of choice was a public garden.

Eddie Andrews, councillor for Ward 78, responds: I supported this event along with head of recreation and parks department Rohland Williams and faith-based organisations.

The project took approximately nine weeks to complete and was primarily resourced from Ward 78 projects and professional artisans providing their skills which included the required engineering skills.

The purpose of the memorial is to highlight what could be achieved when a community unites under a common agenda to ensure matters of concern such as gangsterism, substance abuse and drought.

The gathering referred to was held in Tafelsig in March 2018 where the community gathered in prayer against these social ills.

Ashley Potts, deputy chairman of Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF), also stated that the structure is one that raises the standard of excellence – we as a people would be able to feel proud of for generations to come as it was built with excellence by local artisans.

Today, a year and a few months later, we are one of the only provinces with water and we believe this is because of the united prayer of a nation.

It highlights what can be achieved when community [men and women] of different walks of life come and stand together and unite through prayers to a loving God.

Westridge Gardens is a public open space and remains so to allow access to all amenities for everyone who visits the district park.

Mayor Dan Plato responds: The matter was first brought to the attention of Mayco member for community services and health, Dr Zahid Badroodien, and he has asked that the matter be investigated. I am awaiting the outcome of that investigation.