SRA plan touted

Residents at a ratepayers’ meeting in Monte Vista last week were in favour of paying for top-up municipal services in the suburb.

With a show of hands, most of the 130-odd people at the annual general meeting of the Monte Vista Ratepayers’ Association (MVRA), on Wednesday May 3, supported a proposal to set up a special rating area (SRA) in the suburb.

An SRA is a non-profit company in a defined geographic area within which property owners agree to pay for extra services – mostly policing and cleaning. The association, which re-elected Pierre Gouws as chairman, then called for volunteers to poll residents’ attitudes towards an SRA. Mr Gouws said the once-beautiful suburb had “slowly disappeared”.

“For us to get nicer things, we’re going to have to dig deep into our pockets,” he said.

Mr Gouws said an SRA “would be an answer to a lot of things”, and he complained that council was issuing completion certificates to contractors without checking their work.

“Workmanship is a shocking disgrace,” he said.

Two weeks ago, the City of Cape Town approved four new SRAs, saying the areas were well-developed with good infrastructure, but were showing signs of urban decay and required intervention.

“This will mostly include urban management issues, such as additional public safety measures, cleaning services, maintenance of infrastructure, upgrading of the environment, and social services,” said Mayoral committee member for finance, Johan van der Merwe.

MVRA secretary Riana de Wet, who along with the rest of the association’s executive was re-elected, said 60% of residents had to back an SRA, for it to go ahead.

If an application was submitted before the end of September, an SRA could be in place by July next year. She too said service levels had dropped and “no amount of shouting and screaming is going to change that”.

She said residents, such as the indigent, seniors and disabled people, would be exempted from paying extra for the SRA.

Mr Gouws said the SRA was the only way he could see Monte Vista returning to its former glory.

“The SRA is about 1% of your rates, which is R30 a month”, he said.

* In other projects, it was reported that out of 2 400 possible contributors to the suburb’s licence plate recognition (LPR) project, only 283 had paid.

MVRA executive member Raoul Duesimi said the target was to have 11 cameras; three had already been put up and a fourth was being installed.

“We’re struggling with funding. The mistake we made was to take the amount and divide it by 2 400 residents which gave us R300. But then only 283 paid,” said Mr Gouws.

* Ward councillor Cheryl Visser addressed the issue of street people in Monte Vista, particularly at the Goodwood prison grounds, which has long been a sore point in the area.

Referring to calls for street people to be removed, she said: “No one is going to come and take them away. There’s no ‘somewhere’ to take them.”

Twenty-seven makeshift shelters built by squatters near the entrance to the prison grounds had been removed a month ago after an 18-month-long battle to clear the land, said MVRA chairman Pierre Gouws.

The Department of Correctional Services is building an 8km fence around the site.

“It will always be touch and go until the fence is up,” said Mr Gouws.

Goodwood prison spokeswoman Jo-Ann Christians said the department was helping to secure the land for operational purposes.

Part of the land (30 hectares) at Goodwood prison is the subject of a land claim settlement.

Last year, claimants told Northern News they hoped to develop the land once the claim was settled (“Residents welcome development plans”, Northern News, June 8, 2016).