‘Take M’Plain seriously’

Pictured right is Sean Achim, founder of Plein Chamber of Commerce Primary Cooperative, speaking to Kier Hennessy, City of Cape Town principal professional officer for Urban Planning and Design.

Mitchell’s Plain residents want to see their proposed plans for the area in the City of Cape Town’s spatial development frameworks.

Speaking at a public meeting held at Rocklands civic centre on Monday August 1, at which plans for Sub-council 17 were discussed, Sean Achim, the founder of Plein Chamber of Commerce Primary Co-operative said plans should drive economic development in and around Mitchell’s Plain.

He called for meaningful consultation and for the municipality to acknowledge submissions and explain why they were not listed in official correspondence.

Residents, business owners, and all other interested and affected parties have until the end of August to comment on and query the eight draft integrated district spatial development frameworks (DSDFs) and environmental management frameworks (EMFs); as well as the draft municipal spatial development framework (MSDF).

The DSDFs and EMFs guide spatial development and land use management on a district level, while the MSDF determines the overall spatial vision for the Cape metropole.

The wards which make up Sub-council 17 are Ward 43 (Strandfontein and parts of Philippi Horticultural Area); Ward 33 (Samora Machel); Ward 75 (Colorado Park, Highlands Estate, Rondevlei and part of Lentegeur); Ward 78 (part of Portland and Westridge); Ward 79 (Rocklands and parts of Strandfontein); Ward 81 (Westridge and parts of Rocklands); and Ward 88 (Philippi).

Mr Achim said there were no plans to help Mitchell’s Plain develop its local economy.

He said the 84 square kilometre “city” needed bulk infrastructure and that bulk investment opportunities needed to be created in the area.

“We particularly need to see ward councillors in Sub-council 17 play an active role in pushing for the economic development of our people,” he said.

Mr Achim explained that Beacon Valley and Eastridge were growing residential spaces but that infrastructure was lacking – not just sewerage and electricity but also police and emergency services.

He also asked for the ratio of biodiversity per 100 000 square kilometre so that “we as the community can take responsibility for where the fynbos boundary must be”.

“Let us garden our own space. Let us know what those ratios are so that we can implement them correctly,” he said.

Gerald Brown, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Unemployed Residents’ and Local Building Contractors’ Forum, called for a job creation and training centre for youth who dropped out of school before Grade 9.

“You do not need a qualification to lay a brick,” he said.

Mr Brown said if more youth were employed, it would mitigate the growth of gangsterism and crime in the area.

He also called for Mitchell’s Plain residents to first be employed before workers from outside were brought into the community.

Beacon Valley resident Charmaine Maarman, founder and chief executive officer of non-profit organisation Bright Future Foundation, said the plea from the community was meaningful public participation.

“We understand the need to protect the coastline but Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Table View and Strand have not been penalised for being developed. Will Mitchell’s Plain be given the same equality?” she asked.

“We demand the same treatment. You say public participation. Take us seriously,” said Ms Maarman.

Rochelle Dick, from Beacon Valley, said there should be a concerted effort to ensure that the correct people get the jobs.

“We need skills development and we need processes which are going to benefit Mitchell’s Plain,” she said.

Strandfontein resident Igshaan Carstens, a member of the Plein Chamber of Commerce, said they had a master plan for the coastal region, including Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha, which could tie into with the City’s plan.

“There must be collaborations, partnerships between organisations and the community of Mitchell’s Plain, with the City’s plans,” he said.

Mr Carstens said the Mitchell’s Plain community knows what it wants and that its people should guide development.

Sub-council 17 chairman Elton Jansen, who chaired the meeting, said residents should take the opportunity to investigate their areas of interest and ensure proposals were properly presented, with relevant erven highlighted and comments included.

“You can do it in your mother-tongue. If you cannot write, then get your children or someone to document your proposals,” he said.

Mr Jansen said submissions should be followed up to ensure that plans were executed.