Goodwood and Parow residents say recent flood damage in their neighbourhoods could have been averted if councillors had heeded warnings to unblock drains and take other preventative measures.
Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman Faizel Petersen said he had received many complaints over the past two months from residents about flooding and blocked drains.
“We had heavy rains, where roads and houses flooded. Council has not been proactive in dealing with this, as planned maintenance, could have been scheduled to clean out the drains prior to the heavy rains,” he said.
Mr Petersen said the other contributing factor was the homeless storing their clothes and blankets in the drains during the day.
“Some of the drains get filled with empty cartons and waste that the homeless gather. With the water shortages our city faces, surely the City engineers should capitalise on areas like Goodwood, which gets a lot of water, causing these floods.
“Our stormwater drains could be channelled into dams where they could be reticulated and put back into our water supply or used to irrigate sport and school fields,” he said.
He said residents had told him they felt councillors Franchesca Walker, for Ward 26, and Cecile Janse van Rensburg, for Ward 27, should have been more involved in handling the situation.
“They also complain about the councillors’ lack of response to emails, which I also experienced. We expect councillors who are hands-on, involved and proactive, in our community as they ultimately are civil servants and have a duty and responsibility to every ratepayer,” he said.
Glenwood Neighbourhood Watch chairman James Ellis wrote to mayor Patricia de Lille a fortnight ago complaining that ward councillors were not answering emails.
Mr Ellis, of Goodwood, also emailed Dirk Smit, speaker for the City, on Thursday June 14, saying he had complained, at the end of last year, to Ms Janse van Rensburg about poor service delivery.
Mr Ellis told the Northern News he felt there was “no transparency” from the ward councillors.
“If the leadership is not fit for those positions, replace them,” he said.
Four houses near his home had been flooded, and neighbourhood watch patrollers had had to venture into the water to help many residents.
Leon van Eeden, chairman of the Parow North Neighbourhood Watch, who stays in ME Rothman Street, said they had also had flooding but it hadn’t been as bad as that seen in Goodwood.
“There has been flooding at the dog park in CJ Langenhoven Street, with the stormwater drains causing issues. In certain parts of Parow North, houses have been flooded,” he said.
Mr Smit said an investigation into the councillors’ conduct had found there was “no reasonable suspicion” that they had contravened the City’s code of conduct.
They had, he said, “offered an explanation with which the speaker was satisfied, and therefore the speaker’s office regards the matters as concluded and finalised”.
Reacting to the allegations against her, Ms Walker said: “Both myself and Ms Janse van Rensburg have an open-door policy for any resident to visit our office or to make contact with us regarding any complaints or help that is required. I am happy to meet with the resident if it falls within my ward.”
Ms Van Rensburg referred the Northern News to the City’s media office when asked to comment.
City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo, said “proactive” maintenance had been done in the area ahead of winter.
“That said, we are not able to detect each and every area that requires attention, and we rely on residents to help direct our efforts. We therefore appeal to the public to log service requests for overgrown trees, blocked drains and power outages through the City’s call centre,” he said.
* To log complaints, SMS 0860 103 089, or contact the City through its e-Services portal at www.capetown.gov.za so that these matters may be attended to by the local depot staff.