We need to decide for ourselves

2017-11-21 06:00

What does community participation mean for Ocean View’s development?

The mayor’s urban regeneration programme (Murp) aims to do just that through integrated urban management and investment for neglected and dysfunctional communities.

Out of eight such communities, Ocean View was identified as a beneficiary.

Murp also has a role to play in the safety and quality of life and socio-economic situation.

In 2012 the community of Ocean View was identified to be part of this programme. A steering committee was formed in 2014. To date this steering committee has been kept at bay with regards to the planning and processes by officials.

The members were baffled – no communication was filtered down to the community’s monthly meetings as there were no records of minutes nor registers of people attending these meetings. Last year a stakeholders’ meeting was arranged by the City of Cape Town at Soetwater resort, bringing together City line managers and Ocean View stakeholders to start the process again between then and May this year.

Many attempts were made to bring together all stakeholders of various organisations, to no avail – until a meeting was held early in April that only 15 people attended.

This meeting proposed that the Murp officials should not continue with further plans and proposed that more stakeholders should participate in the process. A proposal was made that community mobilisation should happen to inform all stakeholders of the process. A special attempt was made to personally go to various stakeholders and the broader community.

Several messages went out through SMS, social media, WhatsApp and knock-and-drops at the library, civic centre, in letter boxes and at shopping malls and through pamphlet drives.

In May 80 stakeholders attended the meeting and our first workshop kicked off. This resulted in the first draft community action plan (CAP). The document was made available for public participation. It was advertised in the local paper, at the Ocean View Library, on WhatsApp and on Facebook.

This document is not finalised and is still open for further submission.

The current task team working on the CAP was formally adopted by a public meeting held in June and was mandated to continue engagement with the City on behalf of the community. The task team volunteers have since held around 40 meetings to ensure ongoing engagement with regards to Murp.

The team has been working diligently and timeously to fulfil their mandate. This involved lots of sacrifices, such as time away from family, work and digging in their own pockets to attend and hold meetings. Despite the many challenges and obstacles faced, the team managed to keep the process open and transparent with regards to the upliftment of the community.

The three-day protest in September at the entrance of Ocean View further drove home the need for development as many issues were highlighted. We recognised that the City and government officials have been of little help to bring much-needed development to this community. Therefore, as a community, we need to stand together to keep them accountable, as it is their job and responsibility to manage community upliftment.

Why community ­participation?

The past approaches for development was top to bottom, in which higher authority would decide and implement what should be done. This approach was not beneficial to the previously disadvantaged communities as we still see the disarray in our communities. Who better knows a community than those who live in it?

The recent development strategy suggests that development should be a bottom-up approach.

This means each community is unique and has its own problems. Therefore Ocean View residents should identify their own problems in order to take ownership of their own ­community.

What is public participation? The community, together with government officials, engage each other on what is best for the future.

It is important that organisations and all stakeholders work together in order to avoid duplication of programmes. Leaders from different sectors should attend community meetings and report back to their ­constituencies.

For more information concerning the processes of Murp or the task team we invite every concerned citizen of Ocean View to attend public meetings.

Your input, on how we started and to where we are, and attendance are ­welcome.

Patrick Joseph Ocean View Civic Association

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