What Cape Town is doing to build an inclusive city

2012-02-14 11:27

1. The Mayor’s Special Job Creation Project, funded by the Mayoral Fund
The Special Job Creation Project focuses on developing and maintaining services in historically neglected areas within the city. The project aims to up delivery levels through area cleaning, green activities and general maintenance across the city from street cleaning up. Specifics include park maintenance, maintenance of services in informal settlements and maintenance of storm water systems.
These tasks are undertaken by unemployed community members who are randomly selected. Initial projections show that 8 000 jobs will be created by the end of 2012, with approximately
32 000 beneficiaries annually.

2. Street renaming
Street name changes have begun, with more in store through a series of public meetings. Eastern Boulevard was renamed Nelson Mandela Boulevard. Western Boulevard was renamed Helen Suzman Boulevard. Oswald Pirrow Road was renamed Christian Barnard and the open space between the Civic Centre and the Artscape has been renamed Chief Albert Luthuli Square. Last month, council adopted a recommendation by the mayor to rename those streets still designated NY, which is commonly held to stand for Native Yard, mainly in Gugulethu.

3. Introduction of the MyCiti bus service in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain

The portfolio of transport, roads and storm water will lead the charge in making sure this metro is physically connected by a bus service. Currently the two areas rely on train services – which are in a shambles – and taxis. The introduction of the MyCiti service in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to the CBD will go a long way to mitigate this public transport crisis.

4. Resolving the Hangberg issue
Law enforcement authorities and the Hangberg community clashed violently last year when some community members defied a city instruction to relocate them from an area deemed to be unsafe for human settlement. The City was criticised for its “heavy-handed” approach in resolving the matter.

The City is ow transferring ownership of the 60 row houses to current occupants. We are upgrading the houses to ensure they are in good condition when they are transferred to the current occupants.

Some of our plans to develop Hangberg include the following:
» Building approximately 300 Community Residential Units (CRUs) on different sites throughout the area.
» Building a Khoisan Village to help bring economic development and tourism to the area.
» The Advice Office with a toll-free life direct to the city’s service centres is undergoing an upgrade to the value of R50 000. This facility will be open for community use, including hosting public meetings.

5. Land claims
One of the first things Mayor De Lille did when taking office was to request a review of all outstanding land claims in the City. This report has been submitted and its contents are being studied to examine where the City can play a role in assisting these processes in concert with the Regional Land Claims Commission. There are currently 12 such cases under review.

6. Providing services to backyarders
A pilot project in Langa, Hanover Park and Factreton has been launched to provide basic services to people who live in backyards on council property. It aims to tackle the housing problem by providing services like water and electricity to Capetonians while they wait their turn to get a house.

7. Indigent grant and rates rebates

The City has introduced a new indigent category where qualifying ratepayers with monthly incomes between R3 000 and R4 000 get a 50% rates rebate.
Households with an income of less than R3 000 a month or a property valuation of less than R200 000, qualify for a full rates rebate. The City has budgeted R1.26 billion on free services to the poor in the 2011/12 financial year.

8. Expanded Public Works Programme

These jobs are designed to build the city, communities and provide immediate economic relief to individuals and families. In the first quarter, the City reported 154% of targets reached. By the end of June 2012, an estimated 34 000 job opportunities will have been created from 228 projects submitted by various city departments.

9. Minstrels
The City has resolved its differences with the Minstrels groups which paved the way for the successful hosting of Tweede Nuwejaar. The Minstrels celebration was returned to its historic date – January 2 – and the troupes were allowed to march along traditional routes in the Bo-Kaap. The City provided R3.5 million in services in kind – marshals, portable toilets and so forth – for the event and an additional R500 000 for celebrations to conclude the minstrel festival.

10. Accolodes
The City believes that the numerous awards it has received highlight a common feature: that many people from diverse backgrounds find Cape Town to be an ideal destination to live in, work in or visit. The City received numerous awards throughout 2011, some of which I will just mention briefly: winning the bid to be the World Design Capital of the Year in 2014; having Table Mountain named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World; making the New York Times’ Top Ten list of Hip Cities That Think About How They Work; being named best tourism destination in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Destinations Awards; being named by the Abroad101 survey as the 10th most popular destination for students from the United States to study abroad; and the City has been named as the host of the prestigious Loerie Awards from next year to 2014, an event that helps position us as the creative capital of the country.

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