City facilitators of ‘no use’ to residents

The City of Cape Town’s offer of facilitators and mediators for Masiphumlele was outright refused by a small group of residents and activists at a meeting in the area on May 18.

Two facilitators and two mediators were offered in an attempt to bridge the long-standing communication breakdown between the City and the residents.

However, Tshepo Moletsane, chairman of the Masiphumelele Leadership Structure, said that facilitators are of no use now because a facilitator’s role is to assist with a process that is agreed by law, and as the development plan for the area has still not even been published yet, nothing has been agreed.

“A mediator on the other hand could potentially move the broken relationship forward in terms of communication, conflict resolution and service delivery issues. In particular, the citizens of Masiphumelele would like, as a matter of urgency, to see the Masiphumelele Development Plan in the public domain and will be insisting the mediator puts that demand to the City before negotiations can begin,” he said.

Mr Moletsane said that the citizens of Masiphumelele agree that progress has been made by the City offering to finance mediation.

“However, we feel concerned that the candidates were selected by the City of Cape Town on very short notice and presented to us on a take-it-or-leave-it basis,” he said.

“We feel it would be more appropriate for us to be involved in the selection process. Furthermore, we believe a team of four is unnecessary and will add to the bureaucracy when one will suffice.”

Mr Moletsane said that it was not true that IR Change had been accepted by Masiphumelele as a conflict resolution specialist, to mediate between themselves and the City of Cape Town.

He said IR Change was rejected by the Masiphumelele Leadership Structure at the public meeting on May 18.

He said that the mediators offered by the City were chosen without the consultation of the Masiphumelele leadership team.

“This goes against the entire principle of mediation where both conflicting sides must agree to the neutral body,” he said.

The Masiphumelele Leadership Structure then proposed appointing two experienced independent mediators: Peter Harris and Sherylle Dass of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys.

Mr Moletsane said that Mr Harris has confirmed that he might be willing to participate with his colleague Sherylle Dass, but only if the City of Cape Town are in agreement; since mediators must be accepted and approved by both sides.

“We will now wait to hear whether the City of Cape Town are amenable to our suggestion of the above two mediators and then will issue a further statement about what has actually been agreed by the leadership, not what others claim has been agreed,” he