I wrote this response to the DA’s request (dd 07 June 2011) for proposals from all political parties on how the City of Cape Town’s 110 wards should be clustered to form the new Subcouncils. A work group then met to discuss this and the other proposals (from the DA, ANC and PAC) and agreed to send these forward to the full council meeting (of 22 June) for debate and for a month-ling public participation process:
The legacy of apartheid urban planning within Cape Town’s built environment remains most evident in the still very distinct separation of communities along racial lines. There is little disputing the damage caused to generations of South Africans by the enforcement of this crude form of social engineering, by racially segregating and dislocating communities and then proceeding to deliver services in an inequitable manner, if at all. Not only is the damage still evident even after the seven local authorities were merged into one City of Cape Town in December 2000, but it is still being perpetuated in many ways, not least of which is the ongoing marginalisation of communities in numerous ways and the glaring disparities between increasingly unequal communities.
As with the City’s Constitutional commitment to co-operative governance between the three spheres of government (Chapter 3 of South Africa’s Constitution), the City’s commitment to participatory governance is defined as one of its functions: “to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in local government” (Section 152). Arguably the most important common thread running through all legislative instruments, particularly those relating to local government and its work in and with its communities, is the concept of strategic and systematic integrated development, in a determined effort to dismantle the ongoing impact of apartheid’s policy of separate development. This, firstly, requires ongoing political commitment that supersedes, where it must, any administrative limitations including rigidly following the 8 Health Sub-district boundaries.
The ACDP once again sees this June – August 2011 process of clustering wards to form Subcouncils as a significant opportunity for the DA government of the City to demonstrate its commitment to achieving these important objectives. Consistent with our approach to all development matters, the ACDP has repeatedly argued for greater integration of communities through the clustering of wards into Subcouncils, even since the establishment of the very first Subcouncils in the City shortly after December 2000. Sadly this has only ever been sufficiently achieved in areas like the former Helderberg and Blaauwberg but has not been achieved in the South (broadly: along the M3 and M5 corridors) and in the North (broadly: along the N1 and Voortrekker Road corridors). Yet, it is completely possible to achieve in these areas.
Our proposal is to achieve the above in the South by clustering adjoining wards in a West-East manner:
Example 1: Ward 74 (Hout Bay), Ward 62 (Constantia), Ward 58 (Claremont), Ward 60 (Lansdowne) and Ward 48 (Athlone).
Example 2: Ward 73 (Bergvliet), Ward 72 (Retreat), Ward 110 (Grassy Park) , Ward 65 (Lotus River) and Ward 80 (Phillipi).
And in the North by clustering wards in a North-South manner:
Example 1: Ward 5 (Bothasig), Ward 1 (Plattekloof), Ward 2 (Parow), Ward 10 (Bellville) and Ward 25 (Ravensmead)
Example 2: Ward 70 (Bellville), Ward 3 (Bloemhof), Ward 9 (Bellville South) and Ward 12 Belhar)
The finalisation of the clusters in realising these two proposals is left to the Working Group to discuss and finalise, so that all views are considered.
We believe that in pursuing and achieving these proposals through the way wards are clustered, not only demonstrates a political commitment to re-integration, but all parties together will be bravely establishing a new legacy for Cape Town that is not only well overdue and much needed, but is consistent with the Mayors laudable commitment of uniting Cape Town.