De Lille promises to help ‘backyarders’

The DA will tackle the plight of backyarders without access to services in Cape Town, the party’s mayoral candidate Patricia de Lille told ward candidates today.

“Over the next five years, the city will conduct engineering surveys of backyarder communities to assess the scale of services needed,” De Lille said in a speech in the Cape Town council chamber.

“Once we have the information in hand, especially where city property is concerned, we can begin the provision of bulk infrastructure that will help people to improve their own lives.”

She said the DA would encourage backyarders to register their details on the public housing list so that they can be integrated into formal settlements.

De Lille promised that the party would expand its indigent services and re-assess the threshold for municipal rates rebates on an annual basis to make sure that all families in need get assistance from local government.

But she added that poverty reduction could only be achieved if jobs were created.

Local government would help to achieve this through planning and policies designed to create a climate that attracts investment.

With this in mind, one of the first things the DA planned to do after the May 18 local government elections was to start work on the next phase of the metro fibre optic network.

“One of the major deterrents for investment in poorer areas like Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain is that the infrastructure needed for businesses to thrive has been too expensive for them to build themselves.

“Our new fibre optic network will help to solve that problem. It will allow us to licence network space to businesses, giving them opportunities to expand to new areas and create jobs for those communities.”

She said a DA-run city council would expand its urban upgrading programme in Khayelitsha first to Hanover Park and later to other areas as a way of reducing violence and making communities safer and more attractive to investors.

“We will make it our mission to try to get more partners to assist us in building safer communities.”

De Lille is expected to face labour federation Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich as the ANC candidate in the race for the mayor’s office.

Ehrenreich has vowed to make the upliftment of poor communities a top priority, saying he would divert rate payments from wealthy suburbs to achieve this. 

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