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.
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.
It would appear that the voice of the ratepayer is being silenced by the new municipal bylaw on planning (MBL). Regulation will allow developments to be approved without consultation with the ratepayers and community. A closer study of the MBL reveal quite wide ranging powers given to the City to exclude public participation, e.g the City can decide whom it feels would be appropriate to consult. This means it could bypass the local ratepayer and civic organisations thus denying organised community structures a voice.
It may be in the interests of the Dept. of Environmental Affairs as well as the City of Cape Town to note that, in the face of this obviously unsatisfactory public participation process with its hidden crucial information, both organisations will share the ethical blame in the event that environmental damage occurs, if not the legal liability.
“These outfalls were built 25 or more years ago, when there was less knowledge about the harmful effects of raw sewage in the sea, and the quantities were very much lower than today. We cannot believe the city is unaware of the well-documented discovery of raw sewage floating off Camps Bay/Green Point by kayakers and divers”
“Why is the mayor fast-tracking and driving the sale of land used freely and for over a century by families from across the Cape Peninsula for the benefit of a private developer who is behind the scenes and unnamed?”
The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) hereby vigorously objects to the exorbitant proposed increases and demands that it be reduced to be in line with the current inflation rate of less than 5%. We also suggest that in view of the already approved Eskom increase, the City of Cape Town should REDUCE its CURRENT 10% SURCHARGE on electricity to alleviate the heavy impact thereof on its residents.
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.
Marc Turok, the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) chairman, said: “Our stance is that Observatory and its people should be treated with respect by developers and the city officials. We have rights no less important than those who wish to come and transform our area.
We know those in power place a priority on “economic; growth”, but economic development must be to uplift people and take care of our natural surroundings and environment, not increase the wealth and power of the already rich.