Brooklyn residents fed up with ward councillor

The Brooklyn Ysterplaat and Rugby Ratepayers Association members claim they have to clean drains themselves.

Uncovered manholes and stormwater drains choked by rubbish have Brooklyn residents riled.

The Brooklyn Ysterplaat and Rugby Ratepayers’ Association’s (BYRRA) has accused the ward councillor, Fabian Ah-Sing, of not doing enough to keep the area in good shape.

BYRRA chairwoman Fay Vogel said the association had battled to arrange a meeting with Mr Ah-Sing.

“He has done some things that we’re grateful for, but it is not enough. His resources might be limited but he can do what’s within his power.”

Mr Ah-Sing said anyone who had an issue with his work in the ward could report it through the proper channels.

Ms Vogel said she and her team had tried to clean drains near the Ria Abel Home for the Aged.

“We went there and cleaned up what seemed like the result of years of neglect and rubbish. All the drains in Brooklyn look like that,” she said.

“The drains are filled with muck, bottles, plastic, which all runs into our rivers and canals, thus posing a health risk to our fauna and flora. We are at our wits’ end with little to nothing being done here. Rats as big as cats are living in our drains and run freely.”

Mr Ah-Sing said the City did two thorough drain cleans in the ward annually and this year was no different. The next clean would be towards the end of next month, he said.

“Throughout the year, we have clean-up operations and City contracted workers who do these clean-up jobs.

“I know that there are groups of residents who also take it upon themselves to try to keep their community clean. Hopefully, we will come to a point where many more residents take ownership of their area and do their bit to keep the place clean.”

But Ms Vogel complained that the City did not hire local unemployed people for the clean-ups. “Why can we not use the many unemployed in our area who are desperate to work?

Instead the City employs people from other wards to come and clean here for a mere R120 a day and do half jobs rushing from one ward to the other.”

But the councillor said he indeed prioritised people from his ward for Expanded Public Works Programme jobs, but there had been cases where people who had initially shown interest in the work had later not wanted it.

“I’m urging the residents in our areas to want these jobs and let people within the ward sort out our issues.

“All we need to do is educate one another and show each other that we can solve our own issues, and often it starts with people taking responsibility and cleaning up after themselves,” said Mr Ah-Sing.