Counsel for the Councillor
We refer to the communiqué issued by Greyton Council on 2 September to a selected number of the community, supposedly representing the community but in reality only the two persons named.
TWKM are said to be “materially constrained” in respect of the land tenure issues in Farm 39, specifically the informal settlement referred to as “Madiba Park”. Over the years, they have shown no constraint in their evident hostility and lack of cooperation with the Farm 39 Land Transformation Committee, which has been substantial and shameful.
To suggest that the conflict over land tenure actually predates the foundation of Greyton is untrue and irrelevant. To suggest that “all agree that it is an immeasurably complex problem” is gross exaggeration. If the relevant legislation had been implemented properly, without interference from TWKM, and with the full support of the Ministers concerned, the current impasse would almost certainly have been resolved long before today’s crisis.
It is suggested that “relevant officials” have “promised the authority” for TWKM to provide structures and services to the informal settlement. However, the land does not belong to TWKM, which makes that promise illegal and irresponsible. Regrettably, TWKM did not engage with the Transformation Committee on this. Should the Farm 39 community support such a process, this might be considered differently.
Greyton community support such a settlement in Greyton as a temporary measure prior to the provision of full Council housing, for local people already registered legitimately for many years for such housing, this would surely be considered differently.
The situation was compounded by TWKM’s sudden claim, contrary to previous discussion, that there was now land for housing development in the Greyton area. This undoubtedly contributed to the demonstrations in Greyton.
We must not ignore the larger issue of employment and housing for migrant workers from the Eastern Cape and elsewhere – especially in relation to the highly successful fruit growing industry, the one significant and promising local example of economic growth.
Greyton Council’s position as a democratic support group for TWKM really cannot contribute to any improvement in local municipal management unless it also provides a degree of performance monitoring and holding to account of TWKM. GC would also gain more authority if it expressed the broad range of views of the community, and not just those of a few.
TWKM might also like to consider welcoming all participatory input from the community on matters that affect the community. Listening to the community, and responding accordingly, is after all what they are paid for.
Finally, the Ward 2 Councillor, instead of adopting the somewhat aggressive stance shown by his letter to The Sentinel, would be better occupied by responding humbly and professionally to the requirement to enhance participatory democracy in local government as provided for in section 72 (3) of the Municipal Structures Act.
Ward 2 Forum Team