Erf 1212

The article “Draft framework for ERF 1212 leaves Strandfontein residents frustrated” (Plainsman, June 30) refers.

A follow-up meeting will be scheduled on Wednesday July 13 for more engagement with the community. We also looking at doing an open day style engagement.

I have always said that I, in principle, support the housing project. When I first became a councillor the ratepayers exco asked me what am I going to do about the informal settlements in Strandfontein. I am of the opinion that the current informal settlement situation is causing property values to go down and something needs to be done to address the matter.

Crime is flourishing in the informal settlement because of the lack of roads, to name a few.

This proposed project has the potential to deal with the current undesirable informal settlements but we need to engage with the community to address their valid concerns. We can only do it through dialogue and engagement. There are vulnerable people in need of housing who have been living in the informal settlements for more than three decades.

We also have backyard dwellers in Strandfontein who are also in need of housing and we need to address the infrastructure issues i.e. road, traffic congestion, facilities, among others.

The public participation and continuous engagement with the community is important to reach middle ground. We must address the informal settlements and we have the opportunity to collectively put our heads together and say our say.

We cannot just say we don’t want the houses – there are people who are in need of the houses. We must respectfully ask questions and wait for the relevant departments to respond.