Withholding rates has adverse effects - Neilson
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On August 31 the Cape Argus carried a story about a proposed rates boycott by certain residents in the Sea Point area (Sea Point residents hits City of Cape Town’s pockets with a rates boycott).
It is important to note that the City has been engaging with some of these residents directly in a constructive spirit, as it tries to do with all residents across the metro. Further engagements are planned.
Looking at the data from January to June, which has been shared with the residents, it is very clear that a high level of services is being rendered.
The City has nevertheless undertaken to improve services within its mandate and where required. It should be noted that many of the complaints are within the ambit of the SAPS, among others, and that the dire and dysfunctional state of the economy is strongly influencing what we see on the ground. As for crime and nuisance, the City responded to and resolved 2 759 safety and security service requests in the Atlantic Seaboard between January and June alone.
SAPS is the primary agency responsible for criminal activity.
However, due to the increasing absence of SAPS in dealing with community complaints, the City’s enforcement services are having to absorb more responsibilities such as responding to land invasions and protest actions.
Having said that, the City's enforcement agencies are committed to serving all the residents of Cape Town and to carry out regular enforcement throughout the city.
As for the increase in the number of street people, mayor (Dan) Plato has appointed a Vulnerability Task Team to constructively look at the impact of increasing poverty and vulnerability in our city, to see what acceptable and constructive interventions can be made over the short and longer terms.
Care for vulnerable groups such as street people falls within the mandate of the national and provincial governments. However, we have extensive ongoing programmes to look at the vulnerable and street people as part of our caring city pillar.
Our Social Development Department has just appointed 25 field workers for the CBD and five field workers for the Atlantic Seaboard to provide greater capacity to the Street People Programme Unit. The field workers will offer social assistance ranging from placement in a shelter to reintegrating street people with their families and communities.
According to South African law, it is illegal to withhold local tax. Withholding rates also increases the risk that the City cannot deliver on all its community-based services, such as emergency services (fire, disaster management, law enforcement), maintenance of parks, and clinics, among others.
* Alderman Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor, City of Cape Town.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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