With the City of Cape Town’s financial year three months shy of completion, millions of rands from ward allocations have been spent on various projects across the city – and ward councillors in the Southern Mail distribution area have spent a lot of it on safety, security and some to address unemployment.
Each financial year runs from July 1 to the end of June the following year.
Every sub-council is allocated a budget per ward for various projects and each ward is allocated R1 million.
With municipal elections coming up later this year, a councillor can have a wish list for the ward allocations for the following financial year. Some councillors have applied to re-run in their respective wards again, however, if another councillor is elected they can amend the wish list and priorities when the budget is relooked or adjusted.
This week we speak to two of the seven councillors who have wards in the Southern Mail’s distribution area – Shanen Rossouw from Ward 110 and Patricia van der Ross from Ward 65. In the coming weeks, we’ll be hearing from the others how Covid-19 impacted the year and what the ward allocations were spent on.
Ms Van der Ross said her biggest project this financial year was the Lotus River Flea Market that will be started this year. This project has been planned since 2019 but it needed clearance with public participation and other processes.
Ms Van der Ross said the trading plan has finally been gazetted and an open day will be held to register traders. The project will help the high unemployment rate in the ward and hopefully get some much needed revenue streamed back into the area.
Other projects which took priority were humanitarian projects including R90 000 spent to help NGOs in Ward 65 with humanitarian assistance. Last year was tough as people lost their jobs and struggled to provide food for their families as a result of the lockdown.
Other programmes to help residents also included one where youth could apply to get their driver’s licence with the help of the City of Cape Town. This was R100 000 of the ward allocations while R60 000 was spent on vulnerable groups during the hard lockdown, R160 000 on parks and recreation and parks humanitarian projects and R50 000 on social development projects. Traffic calming measures came to R100 000, fencing cost R120 000, neighbourhood watch projects was R80 000, rental stock maintenance cost R120 000, R60 000 was spent on equipment management and a sewing project was R60 000. A total of R310 000 was spent on Covid-related projects.
Ms Van der Ross said the project that means the most to her is the flea market: “One of the needs identified is unemployment and we have so many business savvy people in Lotus River who just need their products to be seen. This is a way to self sustain and hopefully bring down the unemployment rate in Ward 65.”
She added some of the biggest issues that needs addressing are dumping and gangsterism.
“All I am asking is if you see illegal dumping please report it. If you see robberies or shootings and you know who the culprits are, speak up.”
Ms van der Ross will be meeting with NGO’s to start the wish list for the next financial year.
Ms Rossouw said safety remains a priority in the ward and the majority of the funds have been allocated towards it with a dedicated camera room. The camera room was and is currently being manned by permanent law enforcement officers who monitor the cameras on a daily basis 24 hours a day.
Capital projects was where R400 000 went to CCTV cameras and R40 000 towards traffic calming measures.
Operating projects included R60 000 for safety and wellness for seniors programmes, R30 000 towards neighbourhood watch maintenance support programmes, R260 000 went towards drivers license training project, R50 000 towards Early Childhood Development (ECD) equipment and R110 000 towards a programme called women for change
“I have also assisted the ECD’s in Ward 110 with purchasing stationery. Funds have also been allocated to purchase Wonderbags (slow cooking bags) to assist feeding schemes, save electricity and assist in alternative cooking measures,”she said.
Ms Rossouw diverted funding from some of the projects to the drivers projects due to Covid-19 as some of the programmes couldn’t take place as facilities were unavailable.
She said the project that means the most to her is the driver’s licence project: “There has been great interest from the youth. It is an expensive programme therefore we were only able to accommodate 50 incumbents, I do however plan on continuing this intervention within Ward 110. I will also be extending this opportunity not only to the youth but to all those unemployed individuals interested in obtaining their drivers license.”
The programme offers 20 driver’s lessons, the vehicle for the drivers test and a second opportunity if they fail with an additional five lessons.
Interested individuals that meet the criteria are encouraged to apply for the programme at the ward 110 office at the Retreat community hall as well as ward 65 office at the Lotus River multi-purpose centre.
The qualifying criteria for the drivers project is; you must be unemployed, between the ages of 18 and 35, have a valid learner’s permit, have no outstanding warrants or fines and be available Monday to Sunday from 7:30am to 5pm. You require a certified copy of your ID, proof of address and a copy of your learner’s license.