Never before has the need for civil society vigilance been greater than in this interesting times we live in. We have a constitutional democracy. But what does it mean when the democratic space in local government is fast shrinking and it appears that there has been “state capture” at our local government level.
Destroying our natural environment and replacing it with concrete jungles, in my estimation at least, can in no way be called progressive development. The cosy relationship between our local government structures and the Western Cape Developers Forum, where red carpet treatment ensures the big developers easy passage to encroach on the urban edge, where zoning rules are amended to allow more units for profit and where the seemingly insatiable mammonic greed is fed.
It has been over a year since the City of Cape Town asked for comments from the public as part of the public participation process during its permit application to be allowed to continue discharging untreated effluent into our coastal waters and MPA’s. We have had no feedback or answers to our queries and objections, nor have we been advised as to whether or not the permit was granted and if so under what conditions.
Civic organisations from across the city are becoming increasingly concerned at the cosy relationship between the City of Cape Town and private developers, saying inappropriate developments were being bulldozed through with objections routinely ignored.
The GCTCA sincerely hopes that sanity will prevail and that political and housing development greed will not be the victor at the extreme loss of food security and very scarce water supplies, as well as jobs.
The Philippi farming community gives the Cape 200 000 tonnes of vegetables and flowers every year. Only 20 kilometres from the centre of town, Philippi has been Cape Town’s bread basket for nearly 2000 years. Carte Blanche asks: why are the city’s own town planners threatening its survival during one of the most devastating droughts this country has ever seen?
They called for an “urgent investigation” into the “irrational and unconstitutional” actions of Environmental, Planning and Development MEC Anton Bredell and mayor Patricia de Lille threatening the PHA, which is a critical food security resource.
What is of real concern is that a school will be built on both high potential soils and delineated wetlands, and the forum wonders what sort of legacy it will leave for future generations of schoolchildren as greater awareness evolves of our ever decreasing, scarce and irreplaceable natural resources. Once these resources are developed, they are damaged forever.
We have much to lose. With more than 300 Km of coastline, unique global biodiversity, many poor and vulnerable people, significant in-migration, already strained infrastructure in many areas, high dependency on food, water and fuel from outside the City, even small climatic changes could have disastrous effects on us.
The current Cape Town structure and the power vested solely in the position of the executive mayor and Mayco (her mayoral committee) has embraced this form of government, with its dictatorial, centralised control.
THE Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance congratulates South Africa on a successful election. The people have spoken and given the ANC a national mandate to govern, in the Western Cape, the DA was chosen by the people to govern and ensure a better life for its citizens.
THE PRESENCE of unique agricultural soils on Uitkamp farm in Durbanvillle was played down or even ignored in the decision-making process that approved extensive development on this historic property, say civic groups.
The city was ‘hell-bent on development with little regard for who or what is negatively affected,’ said Sieraha. Both the provincial and national departments of agriculture said the application was a ‘major deviation from the spatial vision’ of the city as outlined in the spatial development framework.