Trimming the fat off the proposed draft 2018/19 budget to free up money for projects such as water augmentation programmes was high on residents’ lists at the public participation process meeting in Edgemead, last week.
Residents from wards 1, 4, 5, 70, 107 and 113 filled the Edgemead community hall on Thursday April 12 to have their say on the budget.
These comments, written down on forms handed out at the meeting, will be submitted to the City by Friday, May 4. Sub-council 3 chairwoman, Helen Carstens, gave a presentation on the budget and listed projects earmarked for Sub-council 3.
These included: the Potsdam plant re-use project; the rehabilitation of bulk sewer infrastructure in Milnerton; extension of the Potsdam waste water treatment works; Edgemead/ Bothasig non-motorised transport; the Annandale housing project; Doordekraal sewer pump station; and extensions to the Table View clinic.
Residents were asked to split into their respective wards to go through the budget.
Concerns for residents of Ward 1 included employing more rent-a cops and extending their patrolling hours.
A Ward 4 resident questioned if the sewer upgrades in Milnerton valued at R42 million were really necessary.
Ward 113 only had five residents discussing their budget.
The small group of residents felt water saving should be a top priority.
Ward 113 councillor, Dr Joy McCarthy, said they needed to re-look how much was being spent on projects such as fibre broadband infrastructure as while it was great for the area “you can’t drink it”.
“We rather need to prioritise water augmentation programmes,” said Dr McCarthy.
Water saving was also on the lips of residents in Ward 107’s group.
The group felt there should be no expenditure on non-essential items on the budget and that the City should reuse capital and assets instead of splurging on new things such as office furniture.
Ward 107 resident and a member of #Save Cape Town, Judge Kruger, said: “There are a few passionate people here tonight, but I feel the City did not do enough to get people out here. The public is non-knowledgeable about this. That is why we are pushing public participation”.
The following day, Mr Kruger along with members of the activist group Dear Cape Town and the public marched through the city centre to Parliament to oppose the proposed tariff increases.
They planned to hand over a memorandum to City officials but were disappointed when the relevant authorities did not pitch.
At the march, Mr Kruger, the organiser of the march, expressed disappointment that Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy; DA leader Mmusi Maimane; and JP Smith, the Mayco member for safety and security and social services, did not come to receive the memorandum themselves, but sent representatives.
“It seems that we were not important enough, as the Mayco members couldn’t make it today,” he told a despondent crowd.
The memorandum accused the City of violating people’s rights by installing water management devices (WMD) then charging them R4 000 for the units.
Among other things, it demanded to see documents relating to the tenders awarded to WMD contractors and called on the City to improve public participation and use local expertise for desalination projects.
Parklands resident Annie Smith, and one of the organisers of the #Save Cape Town march, said they felt the City wasn’t playing by the rules and was treating residents like idiots.
“Most people cannot afford any more increases. We attended a meeting in Elsies River last week, and we could see how people were being ripped off. As the residents of Cape Town, we have to stop this somewhere,” said Ms Smith.
Table View resident Stephen Stauch said service delivery was in decline.
“The tariffs we are expected to pay are actually criminal, and we have to look after our own areas, because we get no services. The WMDs is another issue – they are unwanted. The City is treating us like children. Where do they expect people to cough up thousands for these faulty things?
“People simply cannot afford the rates and taxes. The City is putting people in debt and they end up taking the homes of these people. The deviousness is concerning.”
Sandra Dickson, of the activist group Stop City of Cape Town, she had received about 18 680 signatures on a petition opposing the tariffs.