The City’s Annual Report ought to honestly present the City’s successes and failures, its shortcomings, lessons and progress. This is what openness and transparency means. This is what the DA government has promised the voters.
Yet, once again, this report is glossy and full of self-praise but it either makes no mention of the many delivery and managerial failures, the lessons, shortcomings or ongoing problems, or it glosses over them, playing down their serious impact. Both of these have serious implications for the long term sustainability of the City.
Some examples include:
- The report is silent on any contingency planning for airspace for landfills when the Bellville landfill closes in 2018, if Vissershok landfill extension application is delayed further like it has already been, and when finding the new regional landfill, that’s been ongoing since 2000, is still not completed in time. If these three are not resolved urgently the City will have nowhere to dump the refuse from households and businesses.
- There are still no waste separation programmes being extended to all City households. By not filling the landfills with waste that can be recycled instead, we will reduce landfill waste volumes and extend their usable lives.
- The report makes no mention of the progress of studies or projects relating to the millions of litres of raw sewerage that is still being pumped into the Atlantic ocean every day and that’s a growing threat to human and marine life, and no mention of the growing public outcry either.
- There are plans to expand “Blikkiesdorp” and introducing similar “Temporary Relocation (housing) Areas (TRA’S) but there is no mention of ever permanently housing all these families. These TRA’s have become Permanent relocation areas of families dumped there after being told it is “temporary”. The majority have lived there for over 10 years now in terrible conditions not conducive for healthy and economically productive family growth.
- The report makes no mention of the numerous problems being experienced with cheap quality, badly installed or badly located Water Management Devices that break, leak or burst, and then lead to the massive loss of drinkable water and the waste of ratepayers money in fixing these WMD’s.
- No mention is made of the numerous complaints from the public about inadequate and superficial public participation processes, and any solutions being implemented to address these. More and more, Ratepayers associations, NGO’s and civic bodies around the City are raising complaints about insufficient information or time given to the public to comment.
- The reasons given for “slippage” of capital projects (when project start or completion is delayed) are the same reasons given every year for the past 10 years at least, but still no mention is made of a plan to counteract these problems. Yet the same project planning and management processes are followed every year, and the same contractors and service providers are re-appointed year after year, even after they’ve let the City down before.
- There is no mention made of the cumulative impact of many years of underfunding of the Safety and Security Directorate that manages the City Traffic Department, Metro Police, Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue services, etc. These services remain under funded, under staffed, under trained and under equipped.
- No mention is made of the shortcomings of the Informal Trading Plans in Table View and other areas, particularly in respect of non-existent law enforcement of the traders.
- For nine years the City has been searching for a permanent solution to the Stadium as a white elephant – no mention is made of this because no progress has been made, yet the stadiums maintenance costs increase every year.
- Consumer debtors (what ratepayers owe the City) increased by R1 Billion in just one year to R9.8 billion but no mention is made of why and what is being done to reduce this amount.
- Worse still, the debtor collection rate (the % the ratepayers pay) has decreased from 95% to 93% in this last year – to the lowest level since 2012, but there’s no mention of why or what is being done about it.
These are just a few examples of why the ACDP rejects this report as not being a true reflection of the City’s performance