New Horizon launches civic association to tackle issues

Layla Ryklief, on the far left, was elected chairperson of the New Horizon Civic Association. She is pictured with the interim executive committee.

The New Horizon Civic Association was launched on Saturday September 10.

A chairperson with 12 interim executive committee members were elected at the Gospel Church hall on the corner of 14th Avenue and Buck Road.

Ward 67 councillor Gerry Gordon and Philip Bam, chairperson of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance attended the meeting.

“The civic association was initiated after residents who had moved into the area in phases over a period of three years, faced “many issues that needed to be sorted out”, said Cynthia Links who chaired the meeting.

The community had met several times during those years and decided that a civic association was needed to report issues such as break-ins and the shoddy workmanship of houses and to continue the quest for a clinic, sports facility as well as schools in the new area.

Layla Ryklief, a community activist who has been instrumental in helping residents with housing issues, was elected as chairperson and the committee members offered their services in categories such as housing, trading, feeding schemes and youth development.

Ms Ryklief said she moved to New Horizon in November 2013 and has been fighting with the City of Cape Town and Power Construction – the contractors – to fix the housing problems caused by “poor workmanship”.

She said she has also been active in asking the City to create employment for the New Horizon residents if needed in the area.

At the meeting, Ms Ryklief reflected on the reason why New Horizon was built. She said the integrated community included people from different areas such as informal settlements and backyards in Parkwood, Delft, Lavender Hill, Hanover Park and Mitchell’s Plain who were offered “free housing”.

The houses were erected by the City in three categories: The RDP houses (subsidised), GAP (partially subsidised) and Open Market houses (not subsidised).

Ms Ryklief said besides houses which had not been built properly, another ongoing concern was the water pipe system which was “faulty”.

She stressed the need for a clinic and schools and said safety and security was lacking as the GAP houses had been a target for break-ins due to doors and frames not being built securely enough.

She also pointed out that there are no sports facilities. “Our youths are deteriorating because there are no playgrounds and sports facilities to keep them busy.

“Our children need a school. I work at Fairmount High School, in Grassy Park, and I know of children who were on their way to that school and their school bags were stolen.”

Ms Ryklief suggested that the new ward councillor spend some of the R700 000 allocated ward budget on parks and recreation.

Ms Gordon said she would be available for the community togeth-er with Proportional Representative (PR) councillor Siva Moodley.

“I have a big ward and the community must have patience when it comes to ward allocation,” said Ms Gordon.

However, through “collaborations and partnerships we will bring about change. We need to lift each other up and hold on to each other. We need to listen to each other.”

Ms Gordon said she will touch base with the civic association after she has read the association’s constitution.

Vernon Seymour, a lawyer from Zeekoevlei, who assisted community activists of New Horizon with legal issues, helped in setting up the constitution which he read out at the meeting.

Mr Bam also offered his support and advice on civic duties.

Fuad Titus, chairperson of the Grassy Park Community Police Forum, was also invited but was not able to attend the meeting.

Mr Bam said the New Horizon civic is the 107th civic association to be launched so far in the Western Cape.

He said one of the main problems communities face is that the “City of Cape Town’s public participation is bad. They don’t listen to people unless the voice of the people is strong. A united force is therefore needed to tackle issues in the community.”

Mr Bam, who is also the pub- lic relations officer of the CPF, spoke on behalf of Mr Titus. He advised that the civic should deal with “all issues”, not just complaints about potholes in the street.

He said residents should ad-dress issues of crime to the civic who will in turn relay them to the police.

He said the CPF is responsible for the neighbourhood watches and the two parties “need to unite to combat crime.”

“The civic should be an a-political organisation. The civic must enrol with the police so that they can hear their concerns because people are entitled to top quality police service,” said Mr Bam.

The next meeting of the interim executive committee will take place in three months.

For more information or if anyone wants to offer their service, contact Ms Ryklief on 061 343 5829.