Slow start to community ward meetings

Lentegeur resident, Cassiem Gamied

Mayor Dan Plato recently started a series of ward-based community meetings, which will take place in all 116 wards across the city over the next two months.

Residents will be given an opportunity to discuss any concerns, requests or ideas with their local councillor who will also be able to provide direct feedback to residents about the services provided by the City for their particular wards.

When Ward 76 (Lentegeur) got its turn on Thursday August 22, the meeting was only attended by two members of the community who had happened to find out about the meeting.

“Ward councillors must be responsive and proactively address the needs and concerns of communities. I started these engagements with my listening tour at the end of last year and I’m excited to restart this process to inform residents about the City’s efforts to deliver services and discuss ways to further enhance service delivery for the benefit of all,” said Mr Plato.

The residents, Cassiem Gamied and Moeniel Jacobs, shared their concerns that Ward 76 councillor, Goawa Timm, had seemingly not informed the community about the meeting.

Issues covered included the budget for upgrading parks in Ward 76, Lentegeur library, furniture and equipment, traffic calming in Nerine, Kreupelhout and Orchard streets and Ms Timm spoke about the R2.9 billion that was available to help relieve some of the financial burden experienced by poor households, through the provision of indigent grants.

“They need to apply so that they can benefit from this,” said Grant Twigg, Mayco member for urban management.

“People should apply for this every year as it is available to them.”

Mr Gamied also enquired about the upgrade of parks in the area. “There is a structure that was put up on a field bordering Kreupelhout Street. Something needs to be done about this,” he said.

He also said shooting in the area affected the community. “People are dying here,” he said.

Mr Jacobs also emphasised the increasing crime rate in their area. “What about the young ones in our community? What solutions can we have for these problems? We need communication with our leaders,” he said.

To this, Mr Twigg responded: “We need to take responsibility for our community when crime is a factor, and look at how we can help our own community in these circumstances.”

Ms Timm spoke about the plans already in place to keep the youth busy, such as their after-school programme at Lentegeur civic centre. She added that they were looking into ways they could use the various community halls so that youngsters didn’t have to travel far distances to participate in the programmes.