Upset at MyCiTi verdict

Last week the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the South Road Family Associations application for special leave to appeal a high court decision that would allow the City to go-ahead with their plans for Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus route.

The South Road Family Association (SRFA) is disheartened by the outcome of a Supreme Court of Appeal application which allows the City of Cape Town to continue its plans for the MyCiTi bus route in Wynberg.

Last week the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the SRFA’s application for special leave to appeal a decision by the Western Cape High Court that was in favour of the City of Cape Town, giving them the go-head to implement the next phase of the MyCiTi bus route from Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha to Wynberg and Claremont.

In September 2014, residents in Wynberg and Plumstead received notices to vacate their council-owned residential properties to make way for the MyCiTi Phase 2A bus route.

The residents, some who have been living in the area for over four decades, argued that the planning of the bus route was done without public consultation or participation.

For nearly three years, residents, who later formed the SRFA, have been in talks to try and get the City to find an alternative route for the bus route.

After much back and forth, the SRFA eventually took the matter to the Western Cape High Court, claiming the City refused to engage them on the matter.

In October 2015, Judge Leslie Weinkove found that the City of Cape Town failed to conduct a public participation process as required by Section 152 of the Constitution, Chapter 4 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 and Section 14 of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003.

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The City then applied for leave to appeal the outcome but it was refused and the City proceeded to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal who granted the leave of appeal in the High Court.

On Friday February 10, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the City, upholding the City’s appeal in the South Road matter. The court found that proper consultation processes were followed, rejecting claims by residents that this was not done.

This was then followed by the SRFA’s application for special leave to appeal the High court ruling which was rejected last week.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development authority, said the victory confirms the City’s assertion from the start that they followed a public participation process about the conceptual design of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus service.

After the recent outcome at the Supreme Court, Mr Herron urged South Road residents to accept the decision.

“I am also urging the SRFA to accept the outcome of the case and the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision. A full bench of the Western Cape High Court on 10 February 2017 ruled in favour of the City of Cape Town when the judges, in a unanimous judgment, upheld the City’s appeal,” he said.

He said the City is eager to finalise the route alignment of the Wynberg section of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus service.

“The court proceedings have been dragging on since March 2015. This court action was a waste of our ratepayers’ money and has unfairly and unnecessarily delayed the much-needed roll-out of the MyCiTi service to the residents of Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha by nearly two years.

“Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus service will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of our poorest residents for the better. Once fully rolled out, the proposed MyCiTi service will benefit approximately 1.4 million residents from the outskirts of Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain to the urban centres of Wynberg and Claremont, providing residents in the metro-south east with a direct, efficient and scheduled public transport service and it will spur economic opportunities, new developments and urban renewal across 35 communities along the way,” said Mr Herron.

SRFA spokesperson Clive Muller said despite being disheartened by the outcome of the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision, they will not give up.

“The residents are distraught but we will go on with the matter despite calls from the City to accept the ruling. Our last option is to go to the Constitutional Court because it is after all a constitutional matter. If there is no other way then, then we’ll have to accept the outcome,” said Mr Muller.

The City has also not yet decided whether South Road will be used for the route alignment for the Wynberg section of the bus service. Mr Herron said public comments are being analysed and once the process is complete a report with the proposed route alignment will be presented to council for final approval.

Mr Muller said the back and forth by the City is upsetting.

“They are playing games with the community. They have issued eviction notices and want us out but they don’t know if they are going to be using the road. The situation is mind boggling. We will go back to our legal team and assess the situation and decide from there,” said Mr Muller.

Kristina Davidson, chairperson of the Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA), said they are still completely against the MyCiTi bus route.

“Only a handful of residents have taken the City to court but the opposition to the Brodie Road couplet and South Road route is from every community-based organisation in the area,”said Ms Davidson.

She said they are pleased that the South Road route was not “set in stone” and that the City has publicly stated that a final decision will only be made after reviewing public participation results.

“We have already checked out the results and found that an overwhelming majority of residents do not want the proposed route and prefer the alternative suggestion,” said Ms Davidson.

She said the WRRA hopes the City will carry out a best-use analysis of the different routes that considers the broader urban development agenda and not just traffic congestion.

She said analysis should look at the impact of the different routes on Wynberg’s environment and heritage, on Main Road businesses and on commuters who use the Wynberg transport interchange.