Angry residents

2018-09-18 06:01
Residents of Heideveld gathered to raise concerns about service delivery in the area.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

Residents of Heideveld gathered to raise concerns about service delivery in the area.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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A statement from the City of Cape Town earlier this month has caused anger among local residents. They say service delivery is non-existent in the area and the statement, which credits the ward councillor, is an insult to them.

“I don’t understand how the City can lie by saying the ward councillor came into the community to assist with the mayoral pop-up service (“Mayor stops in Heideveld”, Peoples Post, 4 September),” explains Venessa Avriaanse, a community leader.

“What they (City) are not telling the public is that the community chased the councillor away on the day. We didn’t want him here because of his lack of commitment towards our people.

“We can never allow him to get the exposure, when he is not even serving us as a councillor. We were grateful for the mayor’s visit on the day, because it was a platform for the community to speak out.”

Mayor Patricia de Lille’s spokesperson, Xolani Koyana, confirmed that Anthony Moses, the area’s ward councillor, accompanied the mayor to a recently refurbished park in the ward as well as a few house visits in Allison Road on the day of the mayoral pop-up service.

Following a discussion between Moses and the mayor, it was agreed that the councillor would not be part of the static pop-up service which includes direct engagement with residents due to unhappiness from the community, adds Koyana.

Avriaanse says: “Surrounding communities are packed with programmes and money to benefit their people, but nothing is done here to uplift us. This area is unique as we don’t get the exposure that we need. The mayor acknowledged the community’s struggles and promised to do a follow-up meeting with us.”

Avriaanse explains that some of the challenges for the community include housing, substance abuse and unemployment.

“We can never allow people who are seven years on a waiting list to get a house while our elderly people who are 30 to 40 years on the list are still waiting. The City must come and sort this out.

“Cathkin Village was started because of the injustice of houses. Our people don’t have anywhere to go. With the challenge of substance abuse we have nothing going for our youth here, and unemployment in the area is high.”

She says the councillor “demobilises” their plans.

Avriaanse adds: “We don’t want our councillor in the area. We have decided that we will work without him, because he doesn’t serve any purpose to his community. We will do things ourselves from now on.”

Meanwhile, Moses rejects the residents’ claims. He says he is committed to the local community.

“This is about basic service delivery in the area. I am a public servant and treat my office as a public space from Monday to Friday. The community has access to raise their concerns here daily.”

Moses, who lives in the area, says he values the community but cannot satisfy everyone­.

“Thousands of rand have been put into this community, and it is one of the areas in my ward that have benefited tremendously. I have done several programmes in Heideveld, and I still continue to do so.”

He points out that Heideveld Station recently received a R25m bridge crossover from Heideveld into Gugulethu, the fencing along the railway line was recently fixed up and Heideveld Library and the community centre were also recently upgraded.”

He says projects including upgrades are underway in the area and more are expected­.

Moses adds an urgent public meeting will be held this week to engage with residents.

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