Mayor provides answers to concerns

Meeting with Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato.

As promised, mayor Dan Plato held a feedback meeting to answer questions raised at the “Let’s Talk to Mayor Plato” meeting in January.

Held at the same venue, Leibrandt Van Niekerk Hall, the report-back session was attended by about 40 people – less than half the number who were at the first meeting (“Mayor’s visit ‘a waste of time’,” Tabletalk January 30).

Also answering questions at the meeting were Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, Mayco member for finance, Ian Neilson and Mayco member for urban management, Grant Twigg.

Mr Plato did a walkabout at Table View beachfront after concerns about its sad state were raised at the previous meeting.

On Tuesday, Mr Plato said he had found during his walkabout that “extensive upgrades were necessary” but they would have to be done in phases as they were too big for a single financial year.

Mr Smith dealt with complaints of taxi lawlessness raised by residents at the previous meeting.

“We issue around 130 00 to a 180 000 fines a month,” said Mr Smith, adding that taxis were “disproportionately large beneficiaries” of those fines.

About 4 000 taxis had been impounded in 16 months.

“Fines are ineffective against taxis. They simply don’t pay. Their repayment rate of fines is very low, therefore their change in behaviour is very limited…

“If you know that getting a fine has no consequence, you don’t alter your behaviour at all. It’s imperative we create a system of law that has consequences,” said Mr Smith.

He said the Western Cape’s new budget had given the warrant-execution section a boost to hold people accountable.

The absence of a homeless shelter in the area had been raised at the previous meeting by Ankarien Oelofse, from the non-profit Table View Angels.

Mr Smith said although shelters were private entities, the City would be assisting and supporting them, and it had negotiated with provincial government for subsidies to aid them.

Meanwhile, Mr Neilson answered Greater Table View Action Forum’s question from the previous meeting about how much revenue generated in Table View was ploughed back into the suburb.

“We don’t have the ability to separate our expenditure on a geographical basis,” said Mr Neilson, but he added that rich areas were subsidising poor areas because that was the only way the city could be made to work.

Mr Neilson said there had been an overall 34% increase in property values over the past three years, but that did not mean rates would increase by the same percentage.

The City still has to calculate how many cents in each rand of a property’s value it needs to fund public services.

“There will be a substantial reduction in that rate-in-the-rand to compensate for the overall increase in property value across the city,” Mr Neilson said.

The mayor would announce the new rate value in the upcoming draft budget, he said.

A resident said the mayor had not answered questions about “over-development” raised at the previous meeting.

She said development was unchecked in Arum Road and hundreds of objections and emails from residents to the City had done little to stop it.

Mr Plato said he knew of 45 complaints regarding the Arum Road.

“Maybe we need a session on the planning processes,” he said.

The City dealt with many objections to development, he said. If all objections were met, the “city would come to a standstill”.

Another resident claimed developers were sending registered letters to residents of streets that weren’t affected.

Schulla Pronk claimed there were still Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA) taxis on Table View’s roads after they were “bought out 100%” with the introduction of the MyCiTi project, and she asked why that was.

Mr Plato said he would get back to Ms Pronk’s question which he called a “hefty issue”.

One resident complained that the City had not consulted residents about the R100 fixed basic charge on water bills during the drought.

“I think due process has to be followed if any charge on any household is done. Consultation has to be the order of the day,” he said.

Mr Neilson said if there had been no fixed tariff, the consumptive tariff would have to have been higher.

“You would then have paid more per kilolitre,” he said.

Another resident said the City thanked people for saving water but had never asked how much was spent by residents to save the water.

The City’s by-laws on fireworks had been changed to make the discharge of fireworks in a public place an offence, said Mr Smith, but he added that it would do little good because of the numbers of fireworks being sold.

“You don’t have enough staff to issue a fine to everyone. The desire is to try and stop the production, purchase and distribution. Only trade and industry can do that,” he said.

There will be a mayoral clean-up campaign in Table View on Monday April 15. The mayor will be present and the campaign will target illegal dumping hot spots in the area. Email Jemayne.Andrews@westerncape.gov.za for details about it.