Forced Proposal

Len Swimmer
Chairman: Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance
12 August 2013

COUNCILLOR Garreth Bloor’s letter “Not a fact”  in the Cape Times of August 8th refers. It is so full of “spin” that I don’t know where to start.

For the councillor to aver that the council agenda item c 69/05/13 about changes to the system of delegations in the city concerning land-use planning matters is just a proposal is another among his string of disingenuous remarks to which we have been subjected in recent weeks.

The agenda item clearly states that the proposals are recommended by the mayor to the city council for adoption.

If the mayor recommends the proposal, which of her councillors is going to stand against her?

I have it on good authority that at least one councillor who dared to move that the item be taken off the agenda was subsequently hauled before a DA disciplinary committee.

When the Philippi Horticultural Area matter came up before council last week, despite all the informed letters to the press and articles written exposing the intention to move the urban edge for the fraud that it is and clear instructions given by ratepayers to their councillors to stop this absurdity 127 DA councillors voted in support of the mayor and none against! So much for rigorous internal debate.

The document was made available to councillors less than 24 hours prior to the meeting – how then were they to have time to consider its implications in order take part in rigorous internal debate in council?

To state that tha public should not comment on any matter concerning the city’s affairs until “a process” -whatever that is – is completed, is so dictatorial that it is breathtaking.

Once the “process” is complete it is too late for meaningful public participation. The decision, whatever it is, will have been made.

Again the use of the word “determined” – we are determined to… – by Cllr Bloor demonstrates his real attitude. He and his mayor don’t want to have a pesky public questioning anything they want to do, especially in land-use planning matters which have the ability to swell the coffers one way or the other. He pleads “desperately needed economic growth and job creation”, an overworked political mantra.

All right-thinking people want those two things but in a true democracy the right balance with other priorities is needed; politicians and their officials do not have a monopoly on constructive thought and sensible solutions.

In fact experience shows that as often as not political decisions are based on their five-year attention span until the next election.

To declaim that the Cape Times should come off its pedestal for telling the truth in its editorial “Strange developments” is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. If there is anyone who is claiming the high ground and not shy to shout out loud about it, it is “Cllr” Bloor.

We wish he would spend as much energy in putting sensible proposals in front of his peers as he does in trying to conceal his department’s activities from democratic public oversight.

 

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