Civic forum surprises mayor at office with ‘gatvol’ petition

Far South Peninsula Community Forum members hand over the Gatvol petition to mayoral staff member Ashwin Clayton at the Civic Centre. They are, from left, Graham Noble, Kimm Kruyshaar, Eileen Heywood, Lorraine Holloway, Mr Clayton Patrick Dowling, Karen Gray-Kilfoil and Cilla Bromley.

After waiting in vain for a response from the mayor of Cape Town to hand over the “Gatvol” petition, signed by more than 4 000 far south residents asking for greedy overdevelopment to be stopped, civic representatives paid a surprise visit to Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office on Thursday July 21.

The Echo previously wrote of the frustration of Far South Peninsula Community Forum (FSPCF) as they struggled to get a response from the mayor’s office requesting a time to hand over the petition, signed more than two months ago, which said that there was not enough infrastructure such as roads, schools or clinics to approve further upmarket developments and that the beautiful peninsula was being destroyed (“Still ‘Gatvol’”, False Bay Echo, July 14).

“The Far South Peninsula Community Forum sub-committee delegated to organise the handover of the petition documents was getting increasingly frustrated about the seeming inability of the mayor’s office to agree to a specific date for (the handover),” said FSPCF exco member, Patrick Dowling, pointing out that at the well attended public Gatvol meeting on April 18 they had undertaken to deliver the petition to the mayor personally.

This was stated in the email to the mayor when she was emailed the petition and supporting documents. The FSPCF wrote: “The forum undertook to present you personally with the petition and signatures. We would like to do this at your earliest convenience.”

Mr Dowling said it should have been clear that their intention was not to have all the issues raised during the campaign discussed at this occasion.

“We simply wanted a handover date so that we could assure the public that we had done this.

“Disturbing and disappointing was the decided reluctance by the mayor’s office to agree to a meeting that would have taken only a few minutes. We made that clear in correspondence and telephone calls with the mayor’s colleagues. The mayor’s representative, Wilfred Solomons, insisted that all our issues would be addressed by a multi-department group of officials in due course and a workshop arranged.

“When it became clear that we would get nothing more we, the far south delegation, decided on an impromptu visit the mayor’s office with the file of signatures last week. Unfortunately, the mayor herself was not there and we were helped politely by one of her staff. We look forward now to the promised responses and workshop.”

The delegation consisted of Mr Dowling as well civic association representatives Lorraine Holloway, Eileen Heywood, Kim Kruyshaar, Karen Gray-Kilfoil, Graham Noble and Cilla Bromley.

The FSPCF will continue to follow up on this matter and keep the community informed.