We need to work together

Johann Kikillus, director of Soteria Ministries, Fish Hoek

In response to ward councillor Aimee Kuhl’s comment regarding my letter, (“I want answers,” Echo, March 31) Ms Kuhl is correct in saying that I know of the complexities of the situation.

It is for this very reason that I raise these issues in the public square. The homeless matter, along with many other social challenges we face in the far south, are not new. I have been raising them since 2012 on the ward committees that I have sat on.

During this time, I and many others have voiced concerns about the decay that is creeping into our society. Three areas that have gotten worse are Fish Hoek Main Road and station, Kommetjie Road between Capri and Harry Goemans, and Ocean View CBD.

These areas have become unsafe and, frankly, an eyesore, not just for locals, but also the tens of thousands of tourists that travel through here each month. We cannot simply decline to comment.

Collectively, government, NGOs, business, churches and civil society need to address these matters. I agree that the problem is complex. For 20 years, I have worked with the dysfunctional side of society and I am well aware of how quickly crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour can destroy a community.

But if we break this enormous challenge into smaller, manageable pieces, then we can make a sizeable dent. If Rudy Guiliani could turn New York City around in the late 1990s, then we can do the same.

To start, each interested and affected party needs to be part of a bigger plan where we can pool our ideas and share the load. There must be regular communication between state, business and ratepayers.

Ideally once a month or even weekly public meetings should be held where issues can be raised and all activities can be closely monitored. I guarantee that within a few months, we can reclaim this beautiful valley.

Lastly, every year since 2011, I have personally invited the mayor of Cape Town on a walk through the flats and CBD of Ocean View. Patricia de Lille never came and Dan Plato joined us several times. Two weeks ago, I invited our new mayor. I realise he is very busy settling in, but hopefully he can join us and offer new solutions to old problems.