Article ‘not biased’

Des Palm, director of CapeXit

Last week’s edition refers, and in particular the letter from Greg Wagner, spokesman for mayor Dan Plato (“Mayor’s meeting derailed,” Tabletalk, February 13).

We had the pleasure of dealing with the Tabletalk on many occasions and in person with Summer Jacobs, one of your outstanding journalists.

We always find the newspaper to be unbiased in its reporting with no hesitation to stand up for the realistic and true facts of any issue.

We were therefore rather shocked to read Mr Wagner’s accusation that “Your newspaper sadly failed to grasp or provide this important context to residents who were not in attendance.”

Indeed, it seems the City of Cape Town likes to believe the best form of defence is to attack.

Please note that I personally attended this meeting. Let me first mention that CapeXit was trying to get the mayor to attend a public meeting hosted by us. Said invitation went as far as us sending the agenda to the mayor’s office.

We were rather surprised to hear from a security cluster about the mayor’s public meeting in Table View and quite disappointed that we were not extended the courtesy of being notified about the meeting.

Be that as it may, in Mr Wagner’s letter, we not only find the discrediting of your newspaper, but also, true to form, an attack on activists, viz. the public meeting “was purposefully derailed by members of opposition parties and activists who have no interest in working with the City”.

This would have been rather humorous if it was not so pathetic.

Incidentally I can’t recall any political party making themselves known or any individual standing up and saying they are from or represent any party.

We have a long standing in this community and hosted several public meetings in the past, some with various DA councillors present, including the mayor when he was the MEC for Community Safety.

This community and its members have had their fill of being called all kinds of names.

On one occasion we were called “brown shirts”.

A couple of weeks ago, Stop CoCT was called “a front for the ANC”.

We are hard pressed to find democratic governance in the attitude of the City of Cape Town.

Both CapeXit and Stop CoCT laid complaints against JP Smith for his utterances. However, it remains to be seen if the local government will act against one of their own.

The fact of the matter is that these “activists who have no interest in working with the City” are being verbally abused just because they call the City out on mismanagement, ridiculous levies and rates, and various other aspects. This one would not expect from a “City that is working for us”.

At this public meeting, the state of our beachfront was raised by Anne Smith. She held up large colour photographs which showed shocking and unacceptable conditions and was commended for bringing it to the mayor’s attention.

Is this an “activist who has no interest in working with the City”?

Another member of the community asked how much revenue is generated from Table View and what the amount was that is ploughed back into the area.

The mayor deflected this question by saying the councillors should be able to answer, at which the councillor present noticeably rolled her eyes and shook her head.

And yet this meeting was branded as “Talk to Mayor Plato”.

This turned out to be a one-way conversation at best.

CapeXit addressed various questions to the mayor, eg, the state of the Castle and its surrounds.

Mr Wagner’s boast of “This is how a responsive government works. This is how Mayor Plato ensures resident’s concerns are addressed” rings hollow against the fact that our concerns are merely being redirected to other entities and departments without the promised “addressing” thereof by the mayor.

Of course the question about revenue will never be replied to. It will serve the City well to take note of the fact that the activists and residents of Table View have had enough of being bullied by government employees whose salaries they are paying.