Community airs its gripes with City

SOYISO MALITI

Wallacedene residents have asked the City of Cape Town to help them find ways to beat the crushing queues so many of the elderly and infirm have to endure for chronic medication or pension pay-outs.

The queues were just one of several gripes residents touched on during a meeting with the social development and early childhood development directorate at the Wallacedene community hall on Thursday April 14.

Resident Mpho Matshaya said the community would like to see extensions to the Wallacedene clinic to ease daily overcrowding.

The community faced the same long queues when the South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) visited the community hall to issue social grants, Ms Matshaya said.

Residents said they would start queueing from as early as 4am at both facilities, and often left later in the day without being served.

Another resident at the meeting referred to the death of Wallacedene pensioner Willem Smit, who died while waiting in line at the Scottsdene Youth Centre in Kraaifontein on Wednesday April 6 (“Man, 60, dies in Sassa queue,” Northern News April 13) and said urgent intervention was needed to prevent similar cases.

The residents also urged the City to deal with the Blue Ridge sports complex, which was vandalised in 2014 and has since lain in ruins, seemingly abandoned by the authorities.

Resident Wandisile Layi, meanwhile, said it was mindboggling that after all these years Wallacedene still had no library. “It’s the most relevant issue; we need a library here,” he said.

Ward 6 committee member, Fransina Conradie, said the community needed to unite and follow through with ideas raised in workshops. “Don’t stop at just brainstorming ideas. Try again until the people have learned,” she said.

She was also unhappy about the level of services at the clinic and community hall.

The community urged the City to stop paying lip service to issues such as crime, air pollution, school transport and poor sanitation.

DA proportional representative councillor and member of the social development and early childhood development portfolio committee, Xoliswa Pakela-Mapasa, chided a resident who denounced the meeting as a DA stunt. Ms Pakela-Mapasa said it was open to all residents.

Mzukisi Nyoka, the workshop’s co-ordinator, said they had heard the community’s pleas. “We have this information (recorded), and we will compile a list of the things that need prioritising,” he said.

City official Wilmot Arendse has an office in Scottsdene where residents can report problems, and Ms Pakela-Mapasa urged residents to take advantage of this service. She said Sub-council 2 had recently approved budget of over R100m, which would include the extension of the local clinic.

It appears political tension is heating up leading to the municipal elections. Ms Pakela-Mapasa continued with the first session of the workshop, despite hearing of threats by some residents to stone her car, which they said belonged to the DA. She told the Northern News she wasn’t going anywhere and continued with the workshop.

On Monday April 11, a public presentation about the budget, addressed by Sub-council 2 chairman Grant Twigg, was disrupted by a group of protesters. Mr Twigg said the aim of the meeting was achieved, despite the disruption at the end.