Pop-up office tackles issues
The interaction between residents and councillors at the opening of a mayoral pop-up office in Masiphumelele was “to listen to residents’ concerns” and clear up the issue of the housing database.
“Some of the residents don’t have the ability to articulate themselves around issues clearly in a formal environment. It was brought to our attention that there are a group of community leaders who have been registering ignorant community members for a fee, and telling them they are going to receive a plot,” said subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase.
The opening also gave her the opportunity to explain to residents how the process works and to reassure those who have been registered on the City of Cape Town’s database that there are no short-cuts and the City will only use the legitimate database.
“The office in Masiphumelele is open every day and deals with housing issues and other general complaints. These are then elevated to the correct department to be actioned. We have a housing office in Ocean View which is very effective in dealing specifically with housing issues, council rental stock and issues around finance, accounts and indigent grants,” she said.
There is also a subcouncil office in Fish Hoek which helps a continuous stream of residents who make their way to the facility to address a range of enquiries; however, it is about 5km away.
Mayor Patricia de Lille, who opened the office, said this was the fifth time in as many weeks that they had taken the pop-up offices to the city’s communities to further solidify relations between the City and residents.
“We started the office with a walkabout through the community and I was pleased to see the new wash-houses the City is building to serve the community. I also listened to the residents and City staff about the state of sanitation and the canals in the area. Currently the City is running several projects to improve infrastructure and services in Masiphumelele,” De Lille said.
The City is investing approximately R13.8m in a new minibus taxi facility for operators for the nearly 3300 commuters who will be departing from this interchange to their destinations in Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek, Kommetjie and Noordhoek.
“Masiphumelele is also one of two communities where the City is spending about R27.3m for the construction of fire stations. Given the need for housing, the City is investing in new housing opportunities here. This project is part of 36 new projects in which the City is investing R2.1bn to develop new housing opportunities over the next three financial years.
“I visited several possible sites of land where the City is currently conducting studies to determine if it can be used to develop housing opportunities and we are constantly sharing this information with residents,” De Lille said.
De Lille also said it was enlightening to listen to residents’ views and concerns about service delivery.
De Lille said she had also noted the community’s ideas on how the City can improve services to the community.
Purchase said the office will not take the place of the other offices in Ocean View and Fish Hoek.
It will instead promote communication at a grassroots level.
“The problems raised are the perennial ones of needing jobs, issues with crime, overcrowding, not being able to get electricity deep in the wetlands, housing, having to pay rentals and street lights not working.
“These issues are being addressed as we are in the process of applying for two environmental impact assessments for new developments, which will bring more housing opportunities.
“We are also trying to negotiate with SANParks for a piece of land which will be able to be used for housing,” Purchase said.
Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South), accompanied the mayor and other dignitaries and said that the office in Masiphumelele allows the City to sustain its efforts to be a responsive government.
“We are positioned a lot more closer to the people requesting municipal services.
“The office breaks the perception of a ‘them’ and ‘us’ and reiterates the importance of working together to ensure we make progress possible together.
“The offices in other areas were well received by the hosting communities who are now able to engage on a personal level when compared to calling or send an email requesting assistance from the City,” Andrews said.