2015-08-04 06:01

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The City of Cape Town and provincial government stepped into Manenberg last week with a bang.

Where high-placed officialdom might more often fear to tread, they came with sturdy steps to launch important programmes aimed at “transforming” this crime-ridden suburb and its surrounding areas and uplifting its downtrodden and violence-weary residents. Local and provincial government took a different approach to solving the areas’ problem of urban decay and the resulting crises of drug and alcohol abuse and gangsterism.

Their new approach fundamentally shifts government’s way of working for citizens towards one that takes guidance from the citizens and ensures that both community and public sector leadership are partners.

To reach a safe, stimulating, attractive, vibrant, connected and sustainable neighbourhood these two legs of government have joined forces and consulted local stakeholders. They say they will invest in both people and infrastructure. Their focus areas to achieve this include health, technology, innovation, education, and, of course most important in this gang-ridden area, safety through the deployment of 90 specially trained law enforcement officials.

And while this all sounds good on paper, already a few local stakeholders and opposing politicians have taken a negative stance. Some are complaining they have not been given enough input, some say the plan will fail, and others say promises . . . promises . . .

The fact is, if you try and make everyone happy no plan will ever get off the ground. Despite the negativity there are those who truly believes this is the solution we need. They are thankful that someone is finally giving attention to an area that truly needs it. Only time will tell whether these plans and investment work.

Let’s hope that when it does, the same will be done in other areas facing similar problems

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