Durbanville residents are up in arms over the City’s refusal to allow them to clean up City owned land. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Durbanville residents are up in arms over the City’s refusal to allow them to clean up City owned land. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Durbanville residents’ attempt to clean up surrounding land stopped by City

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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Cape Town - Durbanville residents are up in arms over the City’s refusal to allow residents to conduct clean-up projects on City owned land after a Kuilsriver flood plain clean-up next to Stellenberg was halted.

Friends of Durbanville said residents received an email from the City after initiating a clean-up campaign which noted that no resident was allowed to carry out clean-up projects on City owned land unless a Service Level Agreement (SLA) has been signed and vetted by the City’s legal department.

Friends of Durbanville chairperson Louie Storm said, for the past two months, members from the Stellenberg community and surroundings pooled their time and resources (for free) to organise a community clean-up of the R300 corridor / Kuilsriver flood plain.

“The Kuilsriver flood plain next to Stellenberg has been a problem area for years. To cover their bases, the residents sent an email to the City to advise them that if they do not hear from the City by a certain date, they would assume that it has no problem with this clean-up project. This led to the City requesting a meeting at the R300 corridor”.

“That means that, in effect, any clean-up/maintenance projects, of any City land undertaken for free by the very residents who have already paid for these services to be rendered, are not allowed without permission and possibly an SLA. If we take away the private projects of the residents and leave it to the City, our area is just going to deteriorate further to a point of no return,” he said.

Sandra Dickson from the STOP COCT said, instead of the City being innovative and creating mutually beneficial opportunities for the public to work in tandem with them, it rather chose to have a hostile and non-productive stance.

"It is hard to believe that the City would make it difficult for the public to assist them in cleaning up the environment. The SLA's could be like a standard easily obtainable permit the public can easily get – and should include insurance that would cover any accidents/incidents which may result from cleaning up efforts.

“The City should jump at any offer and actively cooperate with the public to keep the environment clean and attractive for all to enjoy. In fact, this should be part and parcel as one of the services provided by the City, as a result, the rates they collect from homeowners each month,” Dickson said.

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said it was not illegal, in principle, to conduct cleaning campaigns on the City owned land. She said residents must provide the City with advance notice of the proposed work to be conducted and obtain approval before commencement.

“An SLA must be compiled between any of the private entities and the various City directorates/departments and be vetted by the City’s Legal Department before any resources can be allocated to assist either their maintenance/cleaning activities. This SLA must cover health and safety aspects as well,” she said.

Limberg said active citizenry was appreciated and encouraged, and residents are asked to understand that certain processes must be completed to ensure safe and compliant coordination.

Cape Argus

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