‘This is an opportunity for people to dream’

Mitchell’s Plain United Residents Association (MURA) and Development Action Group (DAG) held a workshop allowing community leaders to dream of Eastridge community being a better place. On Saturday May 14 community leaders attended the workshop at Mitchell’s Plain SAPS boardroom.

At a workshop held over the weekend, residents were invited to dream big and share their ideas about how Eastridge can be a better place.

The workshop follows the publication of a study titled Re-imagining Eastridge, a community-centred approach to neighbourhood regeneration and a community meeting held in April (“Study looks at how to breathe new life into ’forgotten city,” Plainsman, March 16; and “Residents, leaders urged to be ambassadors for Eastridge study”, Plainsman, April 6).

The initiative is a joint effort by the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents Association (MURA) and the Development Action Group (DAG).

At the lastest workshop held on at the Mitchell’s Plain SAPS boardroom on Saturday May 14, Mura chairman Norman Jantjes said their vision was to improve the quality of life in Mitchell’s Plain and that the study focused on how service delivery could be improved and challenges overcome.

Participants identified two parcels of land and were encouraged to “dream of what the space could be occupied with,” said DAG project co-ordinator Ryan Fester.

Mr Fester said those at the workshop had been divided into groups who made suggestions regarding the possible use of the land. Among these were an arts theatre, conference rooms for the community, affordable housing, and commercial development.

Elizabeth Jantjes, Mitchell’s Plain CPF, recording secretary and Eastridge Sub-forum secretary shares some of her group’s ideas at the workshop on Saturday May 14.

“The next step after Saturday’s workshop is to go on a tour in various communities,” Mr Fester said.

“We might go to another area where they’ve created an arts centre, a sports complex, commercial areas or affordable housing, and this may inspire us as a group where it could work for the community of Eastridge.”

Mr Jantjes added that this is an opportunity for people to dream.

The group also did a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of Eastridge,listing the Town Centre and the transport interchange as two of the area’s strengths.

“The two land parcels can be a start in addressing community needs especially in the areas of crime and gangsterism. Not sufficient action is being taken by the City and its officials. We want to continue to foster a good relationship with government and local government,” said Mr Jantjes.

The vacant space can mean more jobs and economic development. “Open fields allow for robbery and rape and we strongly need to address this. We also looked at housing opportunities as there is a lack thereof. We’re also looking at arts and culture and sports facilities for our young people. We must go through the process of decent plans for the future and proposals for solutions,” he said.

The youngest attendee from Eastridge neighbourhood watch, Moegamat Jacobs, 16, said he was grateful to be a part of this experience.

“As a leader I want to see less of me, young people my age, in gangsterism and less gender-based violence in my community,” he said.

He is currently assisting with court support which means he attends court with victims of crime and supports them in court, along with members of his team.

Farieda Davies, from the group Waar Brandit innie Zoo said she is optimistic about the initiative. “This may be possible with MURA and DAG as they give us possible solutions and information on what we actually need to know,” she said.

The attendees’ visit to different communities is scheduled for Saturday June 25.