Forum aims for change in Hangberg

The Hangberg Development Forum has raised enough money to create care packs for the matric pupils just in time for their final exams.

A group of Hangberg residents are determined to make a change in their community and have set their sights on starting a new forum to put Hangberg on the map.

Their efforts gave rise to the Hangberg Development Forum, created by residents wanting to take forward the development of the community of Hangberg.

Chairman, Lee Smith, said: “Residents of the Hangberg community felt the need for a more inclusive community forum that will advocate and work towards inclusive development.”

Through a community WhatsApp group, residents sparked discussions around creating a forum, which then led to a nomination of candidates capable of heading up the forum.

“Residents nominated who they felt would be capable of establishing and structuring such a forum with the objective being establishment, registration, structure and ultimately this model would be presented to the community at the first annual general meeting,” Mr Smith said.

By the end of November, their establishment and structuring process would be complete, Mr Smith added, confirming that they further plan to open up registrations in the first week of December, with the hope of presenting the model to the community in an official AGM.

“With Covid-19 still a very real threat, we would have to decide on the most viable options as people’s safety is foremost in our minds,” Mr Smith said.

The forum is proposing to focus on key areas of concern such as housing; safety and security; business and fishing; arts and culture; education; social development; basic services; health as well as sports and recreation.

Their sports and recreation portfolios have already been busy keeping their community active by hosting two football tournaments and a Hangberg netball tournament, which drew lots of attention from the community.

“Attendance was high and one could definitely see the lifted spirits of old and young alike, which was beautiful to see after so long without this positivity,” Mr Smith said.

Under their education portfolio, they also secured funds and created care packages for matric pupils in the area. The packages were distributed to pupils before starting their final examinations for the year.

“We have many other projects which are in the development stages and we will be announcing them very soon, especially in the business and arts and culture portfolio,” an excited Mr Smith said.

The forum is proposing to launch at least four big projects per year, one every quarter, with smaller projects scattered in between. They plan to create a central hub from which to operate, enabling each portfolio to function accordingly, said Mr Smith.

“By the fourth quarter of 2021, we project that we will be operating at full capacity in all our portfolios and will be able to represent our community on all relevant platforms,” he said.

The establishment of a new forum to help Hangberg has been welcomed in the community.

Glenda Nolan from Hangberg said more positive initiatives were needed for the area.

“We have had lots of problems in this area and there are always children involved and this cannot be positive for them. They need more things they can look forward to, because we had some very dark activities and days here,” she said.

Ms Nolan added that she hopes the forum would put the community first and not create something to boost their own ego or status in Hangberg.

“So many times you see people trying to start stuff and establish things in the community, but things fall apart when people do it for themselves or have hidden agendas,” she said.

“I only hope this will be about Hangberg and it will stay about Hangberg.”

Basil Williams was especially excited about the sports and recreation portfolio of the forum, explaining how important sport is for a community like Hangberg.

The former footballer said Hangberg was flooded with football stars, who have very little opportunities to further develop or play professional soccer.

“There is an abundance of talent in this community, so much talent and clubs, Hout Bay can start a league of our own, but there is no other opportunities for these players. They are stuck in their mindsets and some of them only want to be good in this community among people they feel most comfortable with,” Mr Williams said.

He wishes to see the forum offering more of their players opportunities to grow at other clubs outside Hangberg.

“If they say they want to make sure Hangberg is developed properly, the people of Hangberg must also be part of this plan, because as we develop, the community will develop.”

Hangberg resident and among those who will be forming part of the establishment of the forum is Roscoe Jacobs, who said he is proud to be supporting the forum.

“My hope is that moving forward, this will be a vehicle for development that will benefit the community and not leaders and their families,” Mr Jacobs said.

• For more information on the forum, email hangbergdevelopmentforum@gmail.com or contact the secretary, Faghmieda Samaai on 076 452 3872.