2019 promised, and thus far has turned out, to be a challenging year. I was casting my eye over last year’s April newsletter and was reminded how we were slowly recovering from the threat of Day Zero and navigating our way around the water restrictions. This year we have the resurrection of the Electricity crisis and the return of load shedding and the attempt by Eskom to keep the lights on by spending billions on diesel which would seem to be bankrupting the country. Unlike the water crisis (for a large part), the electricity crisis is really the result of corruption, mismanagement and incompetence, coupled with an intransigence on the part of Government to hear the experts who have solutions to the problems and to take the necessary steps. I suspect many of you have hauled out your generators and are investigating solar alternatives. One wonders when the authorities will realise that the supply of electricity and the private generation thereof needs to be re-assessed and the mind-set changed? With the investment of some capital, a viable solar supply is possible that will reduce the reliance on the grid and enable life as we know it (including economic life) to continue. The total collapse of the grid remains a real possibility and the chaos that would result from such a collapse is too dreadful to contemplate. One would hope that good sense would prevail – but of course 2019 is an election year – so every effort is being made not to rock the boat whilst one tries to plug the holes to stop it from sinking.
2019 has also brought us an update to the General Valuation Roll. I hear residents complaining about the increase in value – yet when asked if they would sell for the City’s valuation – respond in the negative – saying they would want more!! My personal view is that unless your valuation is markedly excessive, there is no point in appealing. The valuation is based on the market values as at July 2018. The market dropped considerably in the third and fourth quarter of 2018 – but that is not relevant for purposes of assessing the value as at July 2018. Bear in mind the purpose of the valuation is to assess the rate in the Rand that needs to be charged in order to balance the City’s budget. If the valuations are reduced, the rate in the Rand will simply be increased to ensure sufficient funding for the budget.
The Association has been requested by the City to request residents to lodge all complaints or requests to the web link below where the issue will be logged and distributed to the relevant department. Trying to interact personally with a department or individual City official often results in emails not being attended to or protracted phone calls waiting for the call to be answered. A tracking number will be issued which will allow you to track the progress of your issue. When the word ‘closed’ appears, this does not mean the issue is dealt with, it just means it has been passed on to the relevant department. According to our Ward Councillor the City is working on rectifying this. In order to track from this point on you need to send the tracking number to email@example.com (Cllr Bew’s assistant) and she will follow up from time to time. WEB LINK IS : https://eservices1.capetown.gov.za/coct
The application for planning approval has been submitted and we wait for the City to do the necessary. There are rumours of the process taking 6 – 12 months – so we shall wait and see.
Amenities and Environment
The local sports clubs and other organisations (particularly those situated near the common) continue to suffer from vandalism and criminal activity as well as anti-social behaviour. Andrew Buhagiar has replaced Michael Borgstrom as the BMRA liaison with these organisations.
The state of the Heathfield station parking area also attracted the Association’s attention and eventually a clean-up materialised following correspondence to the Solid Waste Department.
Likewise the eyesore that is the Department of Water and Sanitation yard in Kendal Road as one exits the M3, was raised with the City and we were advised that the damaged fence would be repaired and the yard tidied up.
The Association received a complaint from a member regarding the state of the lane between Titania and Lincoln Way – after a superficial clean up. This was raised with the City and promptly dealt with by the Department of Parks and Forests with the offending vegetation being removed after consultation with the adjacent owners.
The Association has objected to the illegal signage on the cnr of Jeffcoat and Bergvliet Roads and a compliance notice has been issued to the landowner.
Town Planning and Land Use Matters
The Association has dealt with a number of planning issues. In summary we advise that the Timber Way development was taken on appeal by the applicant but the Appeal Authority upheld the decision of the Planning tribunal that the subdivision as proposed was inappropriate for the area.
Of the more newsworthy matters, the Association did not object to the consolidation of two erven which comprised the Ladies Mile dumpsite and expressed its views on the proposed development of Moquet Farm in the media. As regards the construction of the Eternal Flame Church building in Galway Road, the Association ascertained that the present structure was temporary in nature and that approved plans exist for the final structure with construction due to have started in March. The appeal process in respect of 15 Huxley Drive has been completed.
The Association submitted comments in respect of the proposed Problem Building Bylaw.
Roads, Traffic, Verges
The problem of parking on Boundary Road verge has eventually been sorted. Overhanging trees in Newton Drive have been trimmed following the Association’s intervention. Likewise the intersection at Hawthorne and Galway Road is to be upgraded to a Stop as the Yield sign is largely ignored. The Association has requested that the road markings in the entire area be renewed as they are faded and largely ineffective. The chevron adjacent to Owen Drive has been lowered to enable visibility. An electricity box was repositioned to allow pedestrian access in Nobel Way.
The Association has noted with concern the increasing number of Taxi’s in the area. Once we receive confirmation of the approved routes, ranks and stacking areas, we shall be addressing the City in this regard. The issue of illegal trading on the verges in Kendal Road and Ladies Mile has been raised with the City and we await action from Law Enforcement. We request residents to refrain from supporting illegal traders and providing support to vagrants. As regards the latter, rather work through the designated organisations dealing with the problem.