City for her

2017-04-18 06:01
Mayor Patricia de Lille receives a handcrafted gift which was made by the women participants of a Kewtown rental stock programme.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Mayor Patricia de Lille receives a handcrafted gift which was made by the women participants of a Kewtown rental stock programme.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Mayor Patricia de Lille visited Kewtown on Tuesday to bear witness to the progress of the City of Cape Town’s programme for women who rent from the City.

The programme was initiated in the area last year and has been extended to greater Athlone, Hanover Park, Lotus River, Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Uitsig, Ravensmead, Ocean View and Macassar.

“The City has empowered these women to implement their ideas in responding to the social ills in our society. Here the community is taking responsibility for their neighbourhoods. The approach we have followed here is to ask the community for their help, whereas normally government would go into an area and dictate to communities what is best for them,” says De Lille.

She adds that this collaborative approach is in line with the City’s organisational development and transformation plan.

Since the launch of the project in July last year, 787 women have been recruited, trained, and deployed in nine areas to help uplift suburbs with City rental stock by addressing socio-economic challenges.

Cornelia Finch, project manager of the programme and acting head for vulnerable groups in the City’s department of social development, is happy that De Lille is expanding the current programme in Athlone.

“De Lille has said that there are various ways to make this project sustainable, but that we need to go back to the drawing board to see how we can make this more sustainable. We don’t want to overpromise or underpromise,” she says.

The women are employed through the expanded public works programme and are tasked with identifying and helping to address safety concerns in their area, logging service requests related to the upkeep of their buildings and surrounding streets, including litter, dumping and graffiti removal. They are also responsible for providing home-based care services to the elderly, identifying residents at risk of social challenges like truancy, substance abuse and domestic violence and linking them with relevant services.

Some of the other daily duties of the teams include helping at clinics, recycling and craftwork.

The latest round of 284 recruits joined the movement of “community mothers” last Monday.

“I love the programme. When the opportunity came that we were going to have a second, a third round of the programme I jumped for joy and I said that it must come back to Athlone, because the women that we have employed have been trained to do certain things and attained certain skills,” says ward 49 councillor Rashid Adams.

Valerie Snyman, who is part of the project, says the programme has helped her find a renewed purpose after being retrenched from her job and losing her husband in the space of a few months.

“I was working as a tea lady and cleaner at the bank, but got retrenched. This gave me another chance, because I lost my husband a month ago and while I was sitting and thinking, this work has kept me busy and is taking my mind off everything. Last year we were on this programme for six months, now we are on it again for three months,” says Snyman.

She adds that the skills that she has been trained to use have also given her ideas on how to make extra income.

“The programme has given me an advantage, because I did not know how to make a bag, a waste basket. I used to throw the bottles away, but now I know that you can make something with what you normally throw away.”

De Lille adds that the City has invested just over R11m in training and employing the women.

“I am extremely proud of these women as they are enthusiastic about helping the City build safe communities. They have great ideas and I thank them for their willingness and dedication in working with the City to make a positive, visible difference in our communities. These women have shown that they will not sit back and watch their communities fall into disrepair,” says De Lille.

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