Lets free up city budgets to solve real problems

Lester September
Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance

Cape Argus
28th July 2011

The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) notes with deep concern the allocation of city money in favour of grand ideas in mostly affluent communities, at the expense of poor communities.

Reports of the cost of Cape Town Stadium, combined with the proposed Formula One street circuit on Green Point’s municipal roads, suggest imprudent financial decision making which we believe places an unnecessary financial burden on ratepayers.

The city recently announced that the convention centre is profitable and has a clean bill of health. However, the city plans to invest a further R700 million in it, while poorer and previously disadvantaged communities on the Cape Flats have received very little investment. If the convention centre is profitable why can it not finance an expansion itself?

To put this in perspective, the city, with the aid of national government, has invested billions in the Green Point and Foreshore areas over the last few years.

The city’s warped priorities are reflected in the R580m Green Point park compared to the R100m spent on a park in Mitchells Plain opened with great fanfare by Mayor Patricia de Lille. Meanwhile Vygieskraal stadium in Athlone/Rylands used mostly by underprivileged communities has received no investment; one wonders if De Lille is aware of these perverse allocations.

The GCTCA is not against the idea of Formula One returning to SA, but as a country we have far more pressing developmental needs and we feel that private investors should foot the entire bill. In this regard there is no need to reinvent the wheel as East London hosted SA’s first Formula One race, while motor manufacturers based in the Eastern Cape could invest in a race track and use it for testing as top German motor manufacturers did in the 1930s and 1960s.

The roll-out of the MyCiTi service has been a tedious one to witness, with the initial costing hopelessly under-budgeted. The first phase of the MyCiTi glaringly caters mostly to, affluent, areas, with a scattering of underprivileged areas in-between, yet the initial plan was to service the Cape Flats, where the vast majority of commuters reside and struggle to arrive at work on time in the mornings.

If budgets could be freed up and redirected to the speedier roll-out of the MyCiTi service, poor Cape Flats communities would be far better off.

 

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