Build Mitchell’s Plain

Gerald Brown, chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain Unemployed Residents and Local Building Contractors Forum,

The story “Housing project halted” (Plainsman, October 27) refers.

We are registered on the Mitchell’s Plain Sub-council community database.

I am disgusted at how this housing project has been held to ransom and that the unemployed and local contractors of the community are being hurt in this process by certain government and community individuals.

I believe mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi is the cause of this and was supposed to handle the process from start to finish to inform the main developer himself, who undermined the project steering committee (PSC) and wanted to follow its own agenda to co-operate with the PSC, local subcontractors and community.

The community liaison officer (CLO) who was appointed did not have a clue what her role was. I visited the site personally and was told by the CLO to leave all info with her where I discovered that the CLO could not read and write.

On my second visit I was informed (that) the sub-council and the developer, would then have a meeting with the community-based organisations and local contractors – which never happened.

It is a reality that many of these developers are ignorant about the community and will try to bribe those they know will make their task uneasy. Most of these developers are still whites and use our people as window dressing.

I believe to fast track the housing process, Mr Booi should arrange an urgent meeting with the sub-council manager, chairman and ward councillors, PSC members and local community-based organisations registered on the sub-council database.

With my years of experience as a community activist, serving on PSC structures mostly on brick and mortar development projects; and having more than 30-years experience within construction; and a founder of small builders association I believe starting off with such a meeting would cut out all other unnecessary conflicts and solutions will be as soon as possible.

This would be the best solution and the motive must be to build Mitchell’s Plain.

Luthando Tyhalibongo, City of Cape Town spokesperson, responds:

The City follows all due process and within the applicable legislation existing in South Africa.

The Project Steering Committee (PSC), which includes representatives of the beneficiaries, is updated on matters related to the project, including its progress.

We will continue to engage with the community throughout this process.

The most recent PSC meeting took place on October 4.

Various public meetings were held at various stages of the project with overwhelming support.

The PSC was established in 2012 and has been actively involved in the decision-making since the project’s inception.

The project is currently experiencing significant delays due to violence and intimidation on site.

Four separate shooting incidents took place as well as petrol bombings of construction machinery.

Both contractors have since been de-established due to the unsafe working environment.

The City is looking at all available options so that work can resume.

This project, as with all City projects, is dependent on community support and co-operation. We thank the communities for their patience and for working with the City over the years to ensure that this project becomes a reality.