‘Protest’ delays the Mayor

2019-04-23 06:00
Some of the volunteers buy cleaning the garden last year. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Some of the volunteers buy cleaning the garden last year. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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City of Cape Town mayor, Dan Plato, failed to honour his promise to visit a community organisation in Parkwood due to the alleged volatile situation in the area.

According to Plato, the ‘protest’ is what made him fail to visit the area on Wednesday 10 April, which left those involved with the Parkwood Community Upliftment organisation disappointed.

Plato made the promise during a community event on Sunday 7 April when he briefly engaged with residents and assured them of his plan.

Founded by Max Amansure, the organisation, which consists of a group of youth in the area, started a community garden on the corner of Ivy Road and Parkwood Avenue. (“Garden flourishes but needs gear”, People’s Post, March 26)

“I did visit the area, but unfortunately due to protest action, I was unable to go to the garden. A request for a fence would be a budget item and would need to follow due process,” Plato stated in his reply to a query from People’s Post.

He adds, the City appreciates the work the community does to uplift themselves and the City will continue to look at ways to offer support.

The last protest in Parkwood flared up a few days before Plato was supposed to meet with the group and there was no protest on the day he was expected to visit. When he did not arrive, a frustrated Amansure wrote another letter to the City to express their disappointment, while also appealing for immediate assistance from the City.

Amansure says that they have been promised a visit by Plato before, where possible interventions by the City would have been discussed.

Parkwood Community Upliftment currently relies on nearby residents for irrigation but, “due to the high-water bills”, residents refrained from it.

As a result, Amansure says they need help with fencing and water.“We firmly believe when fencing and water are granted, we can take this community project to the next streets or to other communities in the Cape Flats,” says Amansure.

Dragging of feetAmansure says the slow pace from the City has had a negative impact on the project, with some volunteers losing interest and a few already ceasing to avail themselves to contribute their time.

“A big favour was done for the City by transforming a dumping hotspot into a garden. What will they bring to the table to assist the community garden to go to the next level,” Amansure enquired.

Ragiemah Dickson hoped the project would change their lives for the better and be something the youth of Parkwood could be proud of, but it has become a worry.

“It makes me very agitated; our work goes to waste because crops get stolen as soon as it is ripe and we cannot do anything about it,” says the 26-year-old Dickson, who is also unemployed.

She has been part of the project since the beginning and says they (the youth) were excited until they realised the City would not acknowledge their effort.

Dickson says through the help of the community they had managed to harvest vegetables such as pumpkins, spinach, green pepper, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and others crops, of which most of them were donated by residents.“There is high rate of crime in our community and we used to sit by the corners of the street doing nothing but now we at least have something positive to spend time on. This project could be a safe space and keep us away from the negative stuff if they can just fence it off,” she says.

Meanwhile, ward 66 councillor, William Akim started engaging with Amansure about the project two years ago and had previously advised him to register it.

“I recently advised Amansure to go to subcouncil 18 to make them (the council) aware that he is still active within the community with his organisation and indicate their intention to form part of the ward committee. We can take it from there,” says Akim.

V Parkwood Community Upliftment would accept a donation of seedlings and other help offered, call 061 778 3780 for more the information.

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