Khayelitsha residents hand over 600 submissions on City’s draft budget

| Mary-Anne Gontsana
Social Justice Coalition and Ndifuna Ukwazi members sing outside the Civic Centre. Photo by Mary-Anne Gontsana.

About 150 Social Justice Coalition (SJC) members, supported by Ndifuna Ukwazi, formed a queue behind a toilet outside the Civic Centre and chanted struggle songs on Thursday, as they waited for their individual submissions on the City of Cape Town’s draft budget for the 2015/2016 financial year to be collected.

According to the SJC, participation in the budget process was extremely poor. Last year only 37 people made submissions on the draft budget and it was unclear whether any were residents of Cape Town’s poor communities or townships. The City’s budget was released in a form that was difficult to understand and did not provide the information or avenues required to participate meaningfully.

The SJC’s Nomlungisi Qezo said the City failed time and time again to include and communicate with communities when doing things like the budget.

“If you are doing a budget about things that are needed in an informal settlement, don’t you think it would be fair to talk to the residents of that informal settlement to see what their struggles are? The City never includes us. We collected 600 submissions from people around Khayelitsha when we went door to door. What we found is that none of the people knew what we were talking about when we told them about the draft budget and submissions. They did not know because no one told them anything about it. In RR Section where I live, we have a huge problem with toilets. Most of the flush toilets don’t work and people don’t want to use portable toilets (pota-pota), because they are in bad condition. They stink and some of them do not have lids. You find sometimes that when you ask the City workers who clean the pota-potas for lids, they will say there aren’t any because people use them as bowls to eat from or as Tupperware to store food in or as a display in their house,” said Qezo.

Thandokazi Ngqele has been living in Harare, Khayelitsha, for four years. She says she still does not have a toilet. In her submission, she asked the City to provide toilets in her area as she was scared of using the bushes as a toilet. “Nothing has happened to me yet while going to or from the bushes to relieve myself, but it’s only a matter of time. I have heard many things that have happened to people around Harare when going to use the toilet. I don’t even have a pota-pota. At night we use a bucket as a toilet”.

After much singing and dancing, Wilfred Solomons from Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office came to accept the submissions, which were handed to him individually. Prior to him accepting the submissions, Solomons exchanged words with the SJC’s Axolile Notywala and Phumeza Mlungwana, who explained to him why they were there and how the process of submissions would work.

Wilfred Solomons from the mayor’s office accepted each submission individually. Photo by Mary-Anne Gontsana.

Solomons told Notywala that he would take all of the submissions at once, but both Notywala and Mlungwana, interjected and told him that he would have to accept the submissions individually, one by one. They also wanted a promise that they would get a response to the submissions. Solomons agreed and accepted the submissions individually. He then said he would then take them inside, get them stamped and make copies of them, and return them. After returning with the copies of the stamped submissions, Solomons urged the people to attend a public meeting in Khayelitsha on 29 April where they would get the opportunity to hand in more submissions.

TOPICS:  Civil Society Government Health Human Rights

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