The City of Cape Town has been accused of trying to shift blame onto the poor instead of creaky infrastructure for this winter’s flooding in parts of the northern suburbs.
At a Parow sub-council meeting, councillors rejected a City report they said blamed residents for sabotaging sewers instead of considering the apartheid-era infrastructure many still had to contend with.
Ward 25 councillor Beverley van Reenen called for the report to be amended.
“The report states that residents living in low-lying areas deliberately sabotaged their stormwater infrastructure and it does not take into account the legacy of apartheid in contributing to the poor infrastructure in disadvantaged areas,” she said.
The presentation by officials from the City’s road infrastructure management department was meant to shed light on the maintenance of road and stormwater systems.
The report said regular flooding in Ravensmead, Florida, Uitsig, Cravenby, Frans Conradie Drive, Jakes Gerwel and the N1 City area was “mainly due to system abuse and possible capacity problems.”
However, Ms Van Reenen said it was wrong to blame “system abuse” for flooding in those areas.
“This report is not a true reflection of what is happening on the ground,” she said.
Ward 30 councillor Charles Esau urged officials to visit the area and see for themselves what is happening.
“Can someone please do something? Officials need to get out of the office. Many of the wheelchair-bound people in my community are stuck when it rains. They cannot move around when it floods. I receive complaints from residents all the time,” he said.
Sub-council 4 manager Chris Jordaan said shoddy stormwater infrastructure was very frustrating for the councillors and community.
Jeanine du Preez, an official from the City’s transport directorate, said the report was meant to inform Sub-councils 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the status of the progress of the winter preparedness programme and to give feedback on the first flooding incidents of 2019.
Flat, low-lying, sandy areas or houses built below the road level were all prone to flooding.
“This report covers details on the existing infrastructure within this service area and identifies areas prone to flooding. Remedial action and planned maintenance done since the winter for 2018 will be listed and feedback will be provided on the known flooding locations received for the latest storm event on Tuesday and Wednesday June 4 and 5,” she said.
Ms Du Preez said they were not targeting any area and that the report was a work in progress.
Mr Jordaan called for the report to include other roads where flooding happened often, and he told the officials that Sub-council 4 would make money available for more road and stormwater maintenance should it be needed.
“The report should be ready by 2020 and all quantities and estimated costs should be included,” he said.
Mr Jordaan also complained about potholes in the area, particularly “very big” ones in front of the Goodwood Traffic Department.
“People visit the traffic department on a daily basis. The area needs to be safe for people to go to,” he said.
Ms Du Preez said on Monday August 26 that she was waiting on Sub-council 4 to provide her with a “motion” to relook at the report before any changes could be made.
Northern News called Mr Jordaan but he was on a site visit at the time.