This week’s question is:
How can residents take ownership of a park, pool, community hall, clinic or other recreational areas in the City of Johannesburg?
Ward 89 councillor Amelia Bester, answers:
The Democratic Alliance-led coalition government inherited a City in need of repair with billions of rand in backlog on infrastructure maintenance.
The coalition only has the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters in as far as their own mandate is concerned. Without that support, the City might not be able to pass any resolutions, as the coalition vote in itself is not a majority vote.
Against this backdrop, the decision was taken to spend 60 per cent of the budget in informal settlements. The budget was passed in July of this year. Having the budget passed allowed us to tend to the backlog to some extent.
Not much funding was made available for horticultural services. Some money was made available for the employment, training and deployment of 1 500 additional Metro police officers with part of their mandate, to prevent crime.
City-wide we have seen an increase in the number of displaced people living in our public open spaces. Many of these people are illegal immigrants and others, drug addicts. It is the opinion of residents that these bylaw transgressors play a role in the increasing crime statistics in the neighbourhood.
Joint operations to remove and place displaced people are costly; reaches across local, provincial and national government competence; and are seldom done. This situation is aggravated by a lack of shelters, although some money has been made available in this regard.
Residents, local businesses and other stakeholders now have the option to ‘Adopt a Spot’. This entails entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City. Interested parties will identify a public open space, make an application in writing to Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) and copy in the ward councillor.
In this application, information has to be supplied as to what the applicants plan to do, like fence, maintain, place a jungle gym and so forth. A site visit will be organised by JCPZ and a way forward plotted.
It is important to keep in mind that the City will remain the owner of the land.
The procedure should not take too long to complete. Emails for parks in Region C can be sent to Mrs Ditabe, the area manager at [email protected]
I hope that residents in Ward 89 will contact me with applications in a bid to reclaim our neighbourhood and prevent urban decay from setting in.
Details: Amelia Bester 072 472 4196; [email protected]
The weekly column called Councillor’s Corner which is a platform for you, our readers, to voice your concerns or questions for ward councillors to respond to.
Do you have a question for a ward councillor? Email your burning question to [email protected] and let’s get the ball rolling.