Groups unite against sub-council divide

Groups such as the TVRA have opposed the City's proposals. From left are TVRA executive member in charge of communications Stefan Hippler, Table View resident Leon Alhadeff and TVRA chairwoman Mandy Da Matta.

Various community groups in Blouberg, Table View, Parklands, Melkbosstrand and Milnerton have joined forces, as the Western Seaboard Alliance (WSA), to oppose changes the City wants to make to Sub-council 1.

The WSA is made up of ratepayers’ associations, neighbourhood watches and community police forums from Rugby, Milnerton, Phoenix, Royal Ascot, the greater Table View area, Blouberg, Parklands and Melkbosstrand.

It was formed after City representatives outlined proposed sub-council boundary changes at a public meeting on Monday October 10. The WSA held their first meeting on Wednesday October 5.

The City has two proposals for changing Sub-council 1, but both would group Table View and Milnerton into Sub-council 3 with Welgemoed and Plattekloof for the first proposal, and without Welgemoed for the second.

The options divide the Bloubergstrand beachfront and Table View into two separate sub-councils.

The City says the move is about integrating communities and remedying the legacy of Cape Town’s apartheid-era spatial planning while taking into account health district boundaries; physical barriers, such as railways, mountains, rivers etc; and existing city infrastructure, such as sub-council offices.

The City’s planning criteria state that each district needs to have six sub-councils, each with a minimum of three wards and a maximum of six.

However, the WSA has asked the City to consider an alternative proposal. It wants wards 4, 23, 55, 104, 107 and 113 grouped together on the grounds that they share common issues, such as pollution, crime, poverty and service delivery.

In a statement, the WSA tells the City that separating these wards would be viewed in a serious light.

“It will be disruptive to our communities and more specifically to the existing relationships and affect the ability of our community to deal with common issues. Having said that, we believe that our interests are best served by following an inclusive and cohesive approach to our partnership with the City,” said the WSA statement.

Table View Ratepayers’ Association chairwoman Mandy da Matta said the City had ignored some of its own criteria, such as physical barriers, and using health district boundaries to divide sub-councils seemed arbitrary.

“The natural geographical boundaries for our areas, are first and foremost the Atlantic Ocean, following from that the road boundaries of the N7, N1 and M119. There is therefore no indication that physical boundaries have been taken into account in the determining of sub-council boundaries.

“Health district boundaries are determined by a variety of factors. These factors have little in common with factors that should determine sub-council boundaries, namely efficient community participation. They could just as well have used the boundaries of the electricity or sewerage departments,” said Ms Da Matta.

Milnerton Central Residents’ Association chairman Peter Walsh said the sub-council proposals were at odds with the City’s own development plans, as the City’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) states that its objectives must be achieved by “providing efficient planning and regulation processes, transparent and accountable government, easy access to official and infrastructure support”.

Mr Walsh said: “Through the proposed sub-council boundaries, the City artificially divides communities and makes it difficult for ward councillors and civic organisations to efficiently serve their communities. Through this action, the city actually undermines the city’s strategic objectives as described in the IDP.”

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services and compliance, said she failed to see how the City sub-council proposals contradicted the IDP.

Clustering of sub-councils would not stop city-wide service delivery projects, she argued.

Health districts had been used as a way to divide the wards into new sub-councils because they were based on population size and so gave the most equitable result.

Asked why the ocean had not been used as a natural divider for grouping wards into a specific sub-council, Ms Limberg said, “This is precisely what has been achieved.”

Ms Limberg said the WSA’s proposal to group wards 4, 23, 55, 104, 107 and 113 would be detrimental on neighbouring sub-councils.