Wards try to find solutions together

Gaironesa Diedericks, from Strandfontein Ratepayers Association; Elton Jansen, councillor for Ward 43, and Igshaan Carstens, from Strandfontein Sports Complex Municipal Facility.

Ward committee members spoke out about issues their communities are facing during their induction meeting at the council chambers, in Lentegeur, shortly after their inaugural meeting with ward councillors on Thursday February 9.

Issues ranged from no infrastructure in Samora Machel, complained committee members from Ward 33; while Ward 43 committee members, from Strandfontein, complained about being moved from pillar to post, from Mitchell’s Plain Sub-council to South Peninsula Sub-council (19) in Fish Hoek in 2011, and then Sub-council 23 in Lentegeur in 2016.

Ward 76 committee members, from Lentegeur, raised concerns about the community being consulted about its needs and what should be prioritised; and similarly did Ward 75 committee members, from Colorado Park, speaking up about reporting back to their community.

Raphael Martin, manager for Sub-council 23, unpacked their duties and explained to them that it is their constitutional right to be involved in matters of local government.

He said it is important for communities and organisations to have a say in matters that affect them.

“You may have seen things on a plan but never seen it implemented. Now it is your time to see that it gets done,” he said.

Mr Martin said many questions officials field include why does Mitchell’s Plain not have an athletics track, an Olympic size swimming pool, proper infrastructure to prevent sewage from overflowing and why do things only happen in affluent areas?

“It is simple. They complain. They ask the right questions. They are specific about their problems and they say what needs to be done,” he said.

Mr Martin encouraged members to be champions of each and every issue raised in their communities and to challenge the authorities with regards to the implementation of solutions.

Gaironesa Diedericks, who represents Strandfontein Ratepayers’ Association, in the civil-based organisations sector for the Ward 43 committee, said this is exactly why she joined this platform.

“I want to know what do we do to get things up and running in our area,” she asked.

Her colleague Igshaan Carstens, from Strandfontein Sports Complex Municipal Facility, for the sports sector, said over the last 10 to 15 years the ward has changed sub-councils three times, each time affecting the construction of a day hospital, swimming pool and multi-purpose hall in the area.

Madoda Dyonashe, from the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) in Samora Machel, for the civic-based organisations in Ward 33, said sewerage blockages and dirty roads were big issues in his area.

His colleague, Siyanda Jucwa, from Samora Machel Sports Council, for the sports sector, said there are sports facilities and fields to keep youth busy and away from crime.

Bongani Baba, from Ward 33 Youth Development Forum, said they needed a medical trauma unit in their community. He said pregnant women had to be transported to Mitchell’s Plain to give birth.

“The City must take us seriously,” he said.

Mr Martin clarified that medical care at hospitals was a Western Cape provincial government responsibility.

He said the South African Police Services had an oversight role to prevent and limit crime in the country; and law enforcement was responsible for citizens to adhere to council by-laws.

Mr Martin explained that housing is a national government mandate and that both national and local government have housing waiting lists and that as far as possible, with the correct documentation and reference numbers he and his staff would be able to help in tracking progress.

He went on to say that residents should work with the council to improve service delivery and not burn down the road and existing infrastructure.

“Use the constitution and pick up the phone to generate a C3 notification,” he said.

The C3 Notificaton System is an electronic system that acts as a central place for reporting and tracking general problems, like non-collection of refuse, a broken pipe and traffic light in the community.

Residents can either complain to directly to the department involved, the ward councillor and a ward committee member.

Nazreen Jamodien, sub-council administration clerk, said they could help with capacity building and encouraged members to lodge complaints as soon as they happen, as opposed to raising them at meetings.

Michael Jacobs, from the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association, in the civic-based organisations sector for Ward 76, asked that the sub-council ensure they as members have access to information and that decisions are made democratically.