Visions for City’s future

Cape Argus
Monday, 20th August 2018
Philip G Bam
Secretary, Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance

The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, representing over 106 ratepayers and civil society organisations, is, of course, intensely interested in the management of the City of Cape Town.

It is our vision to see Cape Town as a City that is well run, ensuring the best service for its citizens. Cardinal to achieving this is, of course, the City leadership. Up to now, this supposedly democratic city council has failed its citizens by ignoring the voice of the people. Public participation has become a mere tick-box process to legitimise the excesses of local government. It has become clear that not enough is done to balance the interests of the rich and the poor equitably.

Our City management has bowed and scraped before the altar of greed, even leading to corruption and many failed processes. The fiasco with the billing, arbitrary extra levies on water and electricity accounts, and the general lacklustre response to the concerns of the citizens reflect a lack of real quality leadership, in spite of the generous pay top people in the council take home.

The alliance, representing a huge number of ratepayers through its member organisations, would like to see a person appointed to the top job in the City who will:

  1. Have a listening ear – not just a hearing ear, but who will take the concerns of the citizens seriously.
  2. Be action-oriented – who will act in a meaningful way to solve problems, and not just be a referral agent.
  3. Have an understanding of who really matters in the City – not pamper to the whims of greedy rich developers, but consider the poor people, not by lip service but real empathy.
  4. Care for the environment, not approving inappropriate development on environmentally sensitive areas and not willy-nilly move the urban edge to favour the rich.
  5. Understand that the budget of the City must be fine-tuned in terms of what the citizens can afford.
  6. Understand that it is not imperative to increase rates and tariffs, but to cut costs and structure a City administration that is appropriate for the people.

The overwhelming majority of citizens are poor. Cape Town cannot be a Third-World City dressed as a First-World empire.

It does not matter what the party-political affiliation of the mayor is, as long he or she has the best interests of the people at heart and doesn’t dance to the tune of pay bosses and narrow political agendas.

It is our wish that somebody will be found who will understand that running this City is not about power but about the people.

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