The Good Party’s Brett Herron believes that the city’s built environment needs to change to afford people dignified lives. TRACEY ADAMS African News Agency(ANA)
The Good Party’s Brett Herron believes that the city’s built environment needs to change to afford people dignified lives. TRACEY ADAMS African News Agency(ANA)

GOOD party has the political will to change apartheid legacy, says Herron

By Bulelwa Payi Time of article published Sep 12, 2021

Share this article:

Nearly every major challenge facing the city can be linked to the legacy of the apartheid.

This is the view of Good Party secretary general Brett Herron who is the mayoral candidate for Cape Town in the upcoming November municipal elections.

Herron’s major concern is that too little of the City's investment flows to marginalised communities, infrastructure development and to stimulating job creation to fight social ills.

"For me, many of the things that hold us back as a city are connected to race and space, and the fact that we have a government that is unwilling or unable to tackle race and space - that’s been an obstruction to progress for all of us but particularly for those who live in marginalised, dilapidated and neglected conditions as a result of the apartheid laws,“ says Herron.

The Good Party’s Brett Herron believes that the city’s built environment needs to change to afford people dignified lives. TRACEY ADAMS African News Agency(ANA)

.

As Mayco member for Urban Settlements and Transport under the City’s previous administration under Patricia de Lille - who’s now the leader of the party - Herron said his attempts to address spatial injustice started in 2017.

However, this was short-lived as he resigned in November 2018, leaving the city with far less than the projected 10 000 housing units he had planned, Herron said.

If he were to return to the City, this time at its helm, Herron said he would drive a massive integrated, infrastructure-led and construction programme.

"My party is ready to deliver a city that we can all be proud of. If we address race and space we reverse economic exclusion, crime and gangsterism and other social ills. We need to drive integrated development. We need to drive a massive investment in building and maintenance of infrastructure," Herron said.

Under his leadership, the City will also make significant investments in the roads, parks and amenities in marginalised communities to change the built environment there.

“Through these we can create direct and indirect employment and start addressing gangsterism and drugs. We cannot divorce the opportunity for children to enter into drug dependency from the fact that they’re living in poor conditions with not much hope. We cannot address that through policing,” Herron said.

It’s his firm belief that the City has authority, in terms of legislation, to let people live in dignity.

The Good Party’s Brett Herron believes that the city’s built environment needs to change to afford people dignified lives. TRACEY ADAMS African News Agency(ANA)

“I don’t see the legislative environment as so constraining that we cannot change things. The purpose of the legislation was to enable the government to deliver. But it’s how you want to interpret the legislation - if you interpret it in a way that restricts you from delivering then you would do so. It’s a political will issue,” Herron said, pointing to a housing delivery legacy he left before he resigned.

“In 2017 and 2018 I doubled the housing delivery numbers. And it was the first time in Cape Town's history that we exceeded the target. People are frustrated with the current slow delivery rate. It's not a question of funding - it's a question of a political will".

If the rate base is not enough to fund the infrastructure project, Herron said asset base financing can also be looked into.

“The last time I checked we had assets worth over R60 billion so if you want to raise money to improve people's quality of life, you can do so against the guarantee of those assets,” he says.

Herron adds that while clean audits were necessary, they don't necessarily translate to service delivery.

He also wanted to “stimulate and create” development in well-established communities where economic hubs already exist such as the Cape Town Central Business District (CBD) , Claremont, Wynberg, Bellville and also areas such as Khayelitsha and Bonteheuwel.

This would require a tweak in how finances are managed, he admitted.

"The government spends hundreds of millions, if not close billion rands in rentals to house their staff. Why can't we for instance build or encourage the private sector to build offices in Khayelitsha, Bonteheuwel, or other places? In that way we can stimulate businesses there. We have to change our attitudes otherwise the government's role to stimulate development will never materialise,“ Herron said.

Between the campaign trips and requests from communities to visit, that Herron came face to face with the “extent of deprivation, joblessness and hopelessness”.

“I came across a 28-year-old man who eats cats and dogs to survive. Yet the City sits with R19 billion in the bank, with infrastructure that's broken, with people who have no homes. You can't expect people to live with zero. It's not a local government competency but we can also generate income by focusing on jobs and infrastructure - and the fact that infrastructure can generate jobs. The City recently said it would halt development because it had no infrastructure, but that is it’s basic role - to ensure that infrastructure is built and maintained,” said Herron.

To Herron the term “open for business” has a different meaning.

“I want us to be open for business - but reducing red tape has to go hand in hand with infrastructure to allow development to take place. The construction sector needs economic stimulation to absorb unemployed, low-skilled people.”

On homelessness, Herron said: "Most of us are one pay cheque away from being on the streets. With the Covid-19 pandemic most came close to being homeless. We have to find compassionate solutions, and engage with all players in that space including non-governmental organisations and the homeless people themselves. We have to address the path that brought people to the streets. Criminalising being on the street is not the solution, it's morally and legally wrong,“ Herron said.

But he said the images of poverty and sense of hopelessness etched on people's faces will never be erased from his mind.

“I cannot lead a city where people are living in the shadows, eating cats and dogs because they have nothing else to eat, children are killed by failing infrastructure in parks, families finding their houses submerged in water or living with a stench as a result of sewer not being addressed.”

As the November 1 elections are fast approaching, political parties have beefed up their campaigns.

The Good Party, was launched in February 2019 - and took a ward in George and was about 50 votes close to taking an ANC ward in Oudtshoorn during the by-elections in May 2019, says it's ready for the polls.

“We have shown phenomenal growth in the city and outside of the city,” Herron said and hoped that the current campaign will yield even better results.

“We are knocking on as many doors as possible so that people can feel us. We want to build trust. We are also using social media and technology - we were the first political party to have digital branches even before Covid-19,“ he said.

Share this article: