Residents air complaints at budget meeting

Residents from across sub-councils in area central, used a budget meeting at Parow civic centre to complain about housing backlogs, gangsterism and service delivery.

At a meeting on Thursday April 6, the City of Cape Town presented its R44.3 billion budget for 2017/2018 to residents in sub-councils 4, 5 and 6.

R3.5 billion has been set aside for area central, which includes Goodwood and Parow. Residents from Delft, Valhalla Park, Bonteheuwel and Elsies River asked City officials to do something about crime, which they said was out of control.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, was asked if neighbourhood watch members could be paid a stipend, but he said the request was “not realistic”.

“You would need an enormous budget to pay neighbourhood watches a stipend,” he said.

Mr Smith said the City had invested in neighbourhood watches by giving them equipment such as torches and bicycles. He said there were 50 000 neighbourhood watch members in the city, double the number of police officers deployed here. There were also 530 Metro police officers and 22 000 police officers, he said.

While the watch members could not be paid, Mr Smith said his directorate employed them for Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) jobs. “We don’t recruit from the jobseekers’ database,” he said.

Sub-council 4 (Parow) chairman Chris Jordaan facilitated the question and answer session, later reminding residents, “Ons praat nou nie eers meer van die budget nie. Julle complain nou.”

Some of the highlights from the proposed budget include:

R26.8 million for the planned Beaconvale drop-off dump site;

R36.2 million for the Parow depot upgrade;

R13 million upgrade to the Elizabeth Park to Jack Muller park;

R1 million to upgrade traffic islands along Voortrekker Road; and

R8.6 million for the Tygerberg Hospital sub-station.

Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association deputy chairman Pastor Jan Bezuidenhout was at the meeting with his family. He and his wife, Pastor Lizette Bezuidenhout, were particularly interested in the increases to water and electricity.

The City has announced a 1.4% to 7.33% increase in water tariffs for low to medium users, and 19.19% increase for high users (over 50 kilolitres). There will be a 3.34% increase to electricity.

The Bezuidenhouts said their household, which includes four adults, was frugal with water and used only three kilolitres each month.

The family started long before the City introduced level 3B water restrictions, and because they use less than the six kilolitres supplied for free to indigent residents, they do not pay for water.

“If you want to save, you can save,” Mr Bezuidenhout said.

Mr Smith said the City was undertaking a project to modernise its queuing system at health facilities. By the end of this year, patients would be able to make appointments instead of sitting in queues to get help.

“There will be no more queuing, unless you want to,” he said. Patients’ records would be digitised, making it easier for them to use different health facilities.