A complaint by the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum (JPF) against City of Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille over alleged misconduct has made its way to the National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
The incident stems from a meeting held in October over the City’s perceived lack of engagement with residents on new developments and projects in the area. De Lille is accused of using “derogatory language” against community members who challenged the City’s claims that it engaged with residents before constructing electricity poles in the area in August, meant to service backyard dwellers.
JPF member, Judy Kennedy explained that tensions began to rise during the meeting when Mayor de Lille allegedly stated the City need not ask permission before undertaking such a development, because “they rule the city”.
“Of course if you make a statement like that you are going to get people’s backs up. People started challenging her around when the public participation was and then she started swearing at people,” she claimed.
Kennedy said that as part of the community’s own processes they were asking for more public engagement, proper consultation, environmental impact studies and a host of other aspects resident’s believed the City of Cape Town was mandated to do prior to beginning any new development.
While formal complaints have been issued to COGTA, the JPF have as yet received no response beyond an acknowledgement of receipt by the department.
“We are asking them to respond to the issues but also to come to Bonteheuwel and explain to us how the process of public participation works, because we have followed every channel that the City has available and there hasn’t been a response to the community,” she stated.
Kennedy further stressed that while the issues taken up by the JPF political in nature, the group were in no way interested in party politics.
“To us the issue is important. Whether you are ANC or DA you are living in Bonteheuwel and it affects you,” she said.
The office of Minister Pravin Gordhan has agreed to meet with residents on the 29th November to address the complaints against de Lille.
The electricity poles were removed during the latter part of August. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)