‘Committee should represent the people’

The access area in S Biko Street is currently being upgraded. Picture: AECOM

A group of Imizamo Yethu youths calling themselves the IY Movement have expressed their dissatisfaction with the project steering committee (PSC) selected to oversee the R20 million roads upgrade programme that started on Monday August 15.

The roads upgrade programme was approved by the City of Cape Town earlier this year following a public participation process in which the majority of IY residents indicated that they were in favour of the project (“IY residents agree to road upgrade,” Sentinel News, May 6).

Organiser of the IY Movement, Vundla Mdubeki, said a new steering committee had to be selected as the current one did not have the interests of the community at heart.

He said members of the PSC had been selected by the City last year without consultation with the community.

“The community is not in favour of the PSC members as some have been involved in crimes and have pending cases against them.

“We are definitely in favour of the roads upgrade programme but we feel that the project steering committee should represent the people of IY and that is currently not happening. To them it is all about personal gain,” he said.

He added, naturally, the PSC was not in favour of the actions taken by the IY Movement and had been accusing them of “wanting to take bread from their mouths.”

“But it is not about them, it is about the community,” he said.

However, the City’s mayoral committee member for Transport, Brett Herron said the PSC for the roads rehabilitation project had been set up last year well in advance of the start of the project.

He said there had been two public meetings and one open day before the PSC was established.

“Transport for Cape Town invited all community leadership groupings and structures to participate in this process. Before this, there had been a public meeting to familiarise the community with the plans for the project.

“At the leadership meeting to form the PSC, each grouping put forward the names of two representatives, with one of the two attending all of the numerous PSC meetings to ensure the intimate involvement of the community every step of the way,” Mr Herron said.

On Monday, the group met with Ward 74 councillor, Rob Quintas to discuss the matter.

Mr Quintas said he met with both groups and despite the differences between the them, they were both in favour of the project and the project would not be delayed by the dispute.

“I have advised the concerned members of the IY Movement to register their organisation, and provide me with a petition from the community stating that there is unhappiness with the current committee,” Mr Quintas said.

He said should he be provided with adequate proof from the community, he would approach the City and request that an official enquiry into the committee be undertaken.

Mr Mdubeki said he was confident that the group could provide Mr Quintas with the necessary proof.

Mr Herron added that no member of the PSC could personally benefit from the project in the way of employment for themselves or via a subcontracting company they owned.

He said the PSC had also indicated that they were willing to engage in a healthy dialogue with the group to address any concerns.

It is the first road upgrade in Imizamo Yethu in the past 20 years and up to 14 roads have been earmarked to be upgraded by Transport for Cape Town (TCT).

The upgrade will include rebuilding and resurfacing roads and sidewalks, upgrading the existing water main infrastructure, as well as the installation of streetlights where possible.

Mr Herron said the first three streets earmarked for upgrading were: A Boesak Street, S Biko Street, and N Agget Avenue.

PSC member, Kenny Tokwe denied all allegations made by the IY Movement, saying they were a group of individuals with their own hidden agenda.

“They are nothing more than headless chickens running around achieving nothing,” Mr Tokwe said.

He added that he had served the community of IY for many years and had never been arrested.

“We communicate with the community via open days and so far we have had no complaints from the community about the work we do,” he said.

The project is expected to take seven months, weather permitting.