City reveals new mayoral committee members

The Citys mayoral committee members from left, are Raelene Arendse, Siyabulela Mamkeli, Stuart Diamond, Anda Ntsodo, Patricia de Lille, JP Smith, Ian Neilson, Johan van der Merwe, Xanthea Limberg, Brett Herron and Suzette Little.

The City of Cape Town has restructured its service delivery model.

They say this is an attempt to adopt a more people-centred approach to address the legacy of apartheid spatial planning and streamline local government output.

The Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP) includes the appointment of four mini-mayors. The new mayoral committee (Mayco) members were announced on Monday January 16.

As Mayor Patricia de Lille enters her second term in office after last year’s local government election, she said: “I am the only mayor since the Unicity was formed in 2000 to have served a full five-year term. No other mayor has done that. I had the benefit of five years to look at what can be changed and how we can change it. We have looked at research and we have interrogated that research to improve our connection with poor people.

“Legislation requires that from time to time you review the structure that implements plans and strategies. Part of the restructuring is to deal with the legacy of apartheid spatial planning,” she said.

She said Cape Town is one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa as well as the leader in “service delivery”.

“We also have the lowest unemployment rate in the country but there is always room to escalate it to improve service delivery,” she said.

Over the past five years the City has spent 67% of its budget on helping marginalised communities.

“To an extent that the national treasury warned us that the bouquet of free services that we are offering communities might not be sustainable,” she said.

She conceded that there is a lot more to be done to redress the imbalances of the past.

“It is not going to be reversed in 20 years so the best that we can do is to put urgency into the system to speed up the process because the patience of people must not be tested to the limit. What we are announcing today is nothing new. It’s things that we have done already and now we have consolidated it into the ODTP,” she added.

“When we went to the polls in August we put a plan before the voters and included in that plan was the restructuring of the City.

“The people voted and gave us an overwhelming mandate to do the restructuring and implementing our plan. With a two-thirds majority we incorporated the mandate into our ODTP for the next five years. We conducted extensive consultation with many people in the city, including the trade unions and the Council for Conciliation Meditation and Arbitration (CCMA).”

Ms De Lille said it’s time they took local government to the next level.

“Local government is only 16 years old and this is the first time we will change how local government operates in our country,” she said.

She said she is committed to bringing parity to the City by dividing it into four geographical locations namely: north, south, central and east. She said the model cuts across the highest Living Standards Measure (LSM) to the lowest LSM. “It doesn’t matter whether you live in Langa or Sea Point, you will still get the same service,” she said.

The new Mayco members were appointed from January 1 and the City has gone from 10 to 11 directorates.

“The role and function of Mayco members are not the same as MECs and cabinet members. All Mayco members are equal and they are all there to advise the mayor. The buck stops here. “I am the accounting officer politically for the City. The Mayco members are there to advise and help the mayor in terms of their various responsibilities,” she said.

She said it’s an indictment on government nationally that they continue to add to the urban sprawl and take poor people out of the city.

“We have combined transport and urban planning and an element of human settlements with the sole purpose of reversing the old apartheid spatial planning. During the apartheid era they built Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha 30 to 40 kilometres away and we as the City just continued with that pattern when we placed Delft 40 kilometres away and we are saying no more.”

She said they want to reduce the distance travelling which sees poor people spending 40% of their salaries on transport.

“We are going to now have density. We are going to go up in building houses for people.”

She said the City will now become more integrated with residents having greater access to transport, economic, affordable and inclusive residential opportunities. In a bid to lower the economic disparity in the city, they have conceptualised the Foreshore Freeway project in November last year and six hectares of land below the freeway will be freed up for development. She added that the City has made provision for affordable housing at Maidens Cove.

The Bellville commuter interchange; its CBD and the Voor-
trekker Road Corridor as well as Philippi and Paardevlei have also been identified for development to redress apartheid-era spatial planning.

“Another area that we want to target is Athlone. Athlone is almost dead after Kenilworth Centre and Vangate Mall sprung up and businesses moved out of Athlone CBD. Now we are sitting with a CBD that has a bus and train route and that will help us to bring life into Athlone,” she said.

The City’s energy directorate will aim to make the City more “energy secure”.

“We no longer want to rely on Eskom to bring fossil fuel energy from Mpumalanga because it is not sustainable. We want to generate our own electricity.

“We want to have the right to buy energy from independent power producers. We have set ourselves a target that by the year 2020; 20 percent of our energy mix must comprise renewable energy,” said Ms De Lille.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson will no longer be assigned to a portfolio but instead help the mayor with her duties in terms of Section 56 of the Municipal Structures Act.

Former Mayco member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg has resigned as councillor and taken up a position in administration in the City.

Former Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen has now been appointed as the chairperson of the disciplinary committee and has observer status and will also be helping the speaker in governance matters.

Former Mayco member for transport Brett Herron will still be overseeing the Transport and Urban Development Authority while Johan van der Merwe, previously Mayco member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, will be responsible for finance.

Xanthea Limberg who helped the City to roll out its broadband service as Mayco member for corporate services and compliance, will head the informal settlements, utilities and energy directorate.

Steward Diamond will head assets and facility management while JP Smith now heads the social services and safety committee. Raelene Arendse will take over the reigns within corporate services. The four “mini-mayors” will be Anda Ntsodo for the east areas; Eddie Andrews will be at the helm of the southern areas; Siyabulela Mamkeli for the central areas and Suzette Little will oversee the northern areas.

Mayor de Lille said each Mayco member will have a community liaison officer to strengthen ties within communities and their names will be released by the end of the month.

When questioned about the eviction of residents from Bromwell Street in Woodstock, she said the matter was before the court and the next court appearance would take place later this month.

“The City intervened at a humanitarian level and offered them temporary accommodation which they refused.”

In October last year rumours surfaced that Mr Smith would be axed by the mayor and when questioned about this she outlined his credentials and added that it’s unfortunate that the media reported on the views of “nameless, faceless and useless” people on social media.

Commenting on why she has a male-dominated Mayco, she said it’s her prerogative who she chooses and that the Mayco is made up of eight men and four women.