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Cape Town - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has rubbished claims by the Schaapkraal Civic and Environmental Association that the City of Cape Town is guilty of “gross neglect” in its poor response to flooding in the Philippi area.
She said the association’s secretary, Nazeer Sonday, was “clearly speaking for the ANC” on the issue of the Philippi Horticultural Area’s production value.
The city controversially approved an application to move the urban edge to allow for a private housing development on the land.
“The whole of the city, not just the horticultural area, experienced the worst floods in many years,” said De Lille. “The City of Cape Town always pro-actively prepares for the winter rains through our comprehensive winter readiness programme.”
But Sonday said: “Our farmlands are under water. Our homes are under water. The lack of proper infrastructure is causing flooding. Our roads look like rivers. Our businesses are suffering.”
The roads in the Schaapkraal Smallholding area, Highlands Estate and Knole Park Estate became rivers in winter, he said.
A 2009 report detailing the area’s flooding problems was submitted to the council.
“We called for the city to put down rural open concrete channels in our roads and improve drainage by improving our rural open sloot system,” it read.
Despite numerous meetings, there had been no investment in managing the problem.
A second study in 2012 contained recommendations that would have improved service delivery and helped address crime and illegal dumping in the area. But Sonday said this study was also shelved.
“Does the mayor deliberately want to destroy the breadbasket of Cape Town?” he asked.
Sonday and the civic association had challenged the city’s approval of the proposal to develop a portion of the horticultural area, saying it produces 50 percent of the vegetables consumed in the city.
But De Lille said this was a misrepresentation, since the area produced only 80 000 tons of the 333 000 tons of leafy vegetables the city needed.
“Sonday fails to mention that this produce is mostly sold to high-end retailers and is exported. The area is not, therefore, as he claims, the breadbasket of the poor,” she said.
De Lille said Sonday could not speak for the whole horticultural area, as there were farmers and land-owners who had indicated they wanted to sell their land. She said he should rather direct his concerns to the ANC ward councillor “who had dismally failed the community” if he had any service delivery queries.