Cape Town - Activists have labelled the City’s Special Rating Areas (SRAs) as a form of segregation and widening the inequality gap.
This is after the City announced that the mayoral committee approved several applications for Special Rating Areas (SRAs) at its meeting this week.
The City said that property owners residing in SRA’s pay additional rates to fund supplementary services managed by a non-profit company including cleansing, recycling, social interventions, and additional public safety measures.
The City said that there are currently 47 SRAs in the City of Cape Town, excluding the four new applications in Clifton, Park Island, Upper Kenilworth, and Pinelands, which will serve before Council for ratification at the end of the month.
Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chair Ndithini Tyhido said that the reality is that they knew that there is an imbalance in terms of service delivery in the City.
“There is one Cape Town better serviced and rich and employment opportunities and the other Cape Town where the Cape Flats and townships are poor and black and marginalised, they are poorly serviced.
“There is currently a crisis of waste removal in places like Khayelitsha, Kosovo and others. All along the City has been pushing a segregational service delivery model where the affluent are better serviced because their pockets are full.
These areas are provided with more water, safety and refuse removal due to how much they pay and these areas were systematically designed by the apartheid for the privileged,” he said.
Reclaim the City’s Elizabeth Qoboka said this further widened the gap for inequality between the haves and have-nots.
“Inequality is rife within the City and the poor are left out and not recognised as residents, getting the minimal services due to the inability to pay for them,” she said.
Deputy mayor and mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said that an SRA is formed at the request of a community, and not the City.
“This is a process that is carefully managed and includes an extensive public participation process and public meetings. First off, a steering committee consisting of property owners in the area need to compile a five-year business plan which must be supported by the affected community. To submit an application for the establishment of an SRA in a residential area, more than 60% of property owners must give written support, and in a commercial area, it is 50% plus one. Only once this support is confirmed by the City, the application can be advertised to give affected property owners 30 days to submit comments and objections. Thus, the proposal to form an SRA must be supported by those who have to contribute additional rates for the supplementary services,” said Andrews.
The City said that it considers every application together with the objections and once approved, a non-profit company is established and managed by a board that is elected by property owners and then the City collects the additional rates on behalf of the Central Improvement District (CID), and pays it to the CID every month.