Farouk Cassim, the COPE Councillor profiled on climate change. Farouk Cassim, holding a branch from his mint plants, has planted a herb garden in his yard.Picture Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)
Farouk Cassim, the COPE Councillor profiled on climate change. Farouk Cassim, holding a branch from his mint plants, has planted a herb garden in his yard.Picture Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

If COPE’s Farouk Cassim was Cape Town mayor, he would tackle climate change

By Bulelwa Payi Time of article published Aug 29, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - Veteran politician and the sole representative of the Cope in the City of Cape Town council has identified climate change and the devastating economic and social impact it has had, as one of the major challenges facing the city.

Former member of Parliament and now councillor for five years, Farouk Cassim said the impact was enormous and needed a drastic mind-shift and urgency to tackle.

Climate scientists have warned of the growing economic impact of climate change and said urban areas were ill-prepared to deal with the climate change storm.

The International Disaster Database recorded as many as 90 weather-related disasters in South Africa since the early 1980s and these events caused about R95 billion in associated economic losses and affected about 22 million people.

COPE councillor Farouk Cassim, is passionate about climate change and will work towards ensuring that the city is resilient if he were to be elected mayor in the upcoming general elections. Picture Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

“I cannot understand why the City has not declared a climate emergency yet. What I would like to see is climate change being incorporated into the City's Integrated Development Plan (IDP) so that resources are channelled towards tackling it," said Cassim.

Cassim said with rising carbon emissions and the rising heat being trapped in the atmosphere there was an increase in rainfall.

Cassim said Cape Town was not immune to the devastating climate change incidents as evidenced by the recent increase in rainfall, droughts, and fire incidents.

"Just a few years ago in Milnerton beach, every bit of sand was washed off and all we could see was exposed rock. The sea is rising - and in the next two decades we might not see Robben Island if no measures are taken now. and those living on informal settlements built on flood plains will be hit hard," warned Cassim.

He said the City needed to be progressive, and be on the "front foot" so that it was able to deal with the approaching climate tsunami.

"We need to leave a legacy that will protect future generations by making those changes now and create a resilient city," he added.

As a climate change activist, Cassim and his family have been living partially off the grid, have double-glazed windows and doors, and grow a small herb and food garden.

Energy “poverty” and the generation of electricity is also another key issue to Cassim.

“People could form cooperatives like in Germany and generate our own electricity. They will be able to generate it, earn an income from it and pay half the price for consumption," he said.

Another issue high on the agenda of Cassim's party was the rising homelessness and the need for housing.

These issues are encapsulated in a concept and acronym SMART CARTS which brings together and to the fore issues such as service, manufacturing, agriculture, retail, technology, culture, arts, recreation, tourism and sports.

"If I were mayor I would call everyone together and say this is what we should be looking at. Rezone certain areas as economic hubs, create cultural tourist hubs and pull people along with us and look at the internet of things - how these can help improve  the lives of people," Cassim said.

Cassim also shared views on dealing with homelessness.

"We need to build co-housing, it is being done in Denmark - we build communal houses for them in communities and they can be given something to do. When communities break they have nowhere to go. Policing them is inhumane and the City has been found to deal in an inhumane way and we know from the apartheid area that force doesn't work," said Cassim.

He said the inability of those in power to see the citizens as a "whole" was also of concern.

"The current administration believes it is best to police crime. But if you ask what is the cost of cable theft and repairing all of this, then you ask how we are maintaining townships as dormitories. We need to do more and improve people's lives," he added.

But first Cassim said he would change the "frigid zone" of the council and encourage interaction and closeness between councillors irrespective of their political affiliation.

"I had to earn my acceptance and recognition through the vast knowledge and understanding I have. We could have braais and get-togethers to break the ice and roll-out the carpet to the new councillors."

And yes, he would  respond to questions asked by councillors and encourage debate rather than the "current speechifying".

Cassim said he would also encourage cooperation among all spheres of government, as required by the Constitution.

Weekend Argus

Share this article: