What about Ocean View?

Diane Pope, Glencairn

I have just read, in your latest edition, the outline plans for the ward councillors’ 2022 budget (“Ward councillors outline plans for 2022,” Echo, February 10), and I note that, yet again, Ocean View has been ignored. It seems that the area is invisible.

While I am the first to acknowledge the needs of the people of Masiphumelele, Ocean View is in desperate need of help. Much of the housing there is substandard, crime, violence and gang-related shootings are a daily occurrence, and unemployment is rife, yet nothing is done to help the residents.

Ironically, a further article details the opening of a small play park that has been constructed in Libra Road, in honour of three young children who died following random shootings (“Safe space for children launched in Ocean View,” Echo, February 10). The youngest child was 6-months-old and the eldest 9 years old. This is tragic and totally unacceptable.

It seems that no help was forthcoming from either The City of Cape Town or the relevant ward councillors: the residents have two small organisations to thank for the park.

Surely, it’s time that the authorities remembered that Ocean View exists and gave this Cinderella area the help it so desperately needs and deserves.

• Ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock responds: To extrapolate that Ocean View is ignored from the way the ward-allocation was spent shows a lack of insight into what it was spent on and how the budget works.

It is, however, common that many residents do not understand how the City’s budget works, and I understand this as it is a complicated issue that needs to be simplified so that people can engage in an informed manner.

It must first be understood that budgeting is done at a City level and not by suburb. Ocean View is one part of Ward 61, which includes the suburbs of Ocean View, Kommetjie, Scarborough, Red Hill, Glencairn, Da Gama Park and greater Simon’s Town. It also includes the SA Naval Dockyard, Cape Point, many beaches and large tracts of the Table Mountain National Park.

Ward 61, in turn, is one of 115 wards in the City metro. When we look at the City’s budget of R56 billion, we need to understand that it is spread across a metro of five million people, that it must be based on the priority needs of all residents and that the benefits of infrastructure are widespread and not limited to the location where it is built. For example, upgrading of a wastewater treatment works benefits every single resident who uses a flush toilet connected to the sanitation system not only the residents of the ward in which it is located. The same is true for water, roads, electricity and solid waste.

The article in the Echo dealt only with the ward councillor’s allocation of R1 million, which is such a small percentage of R56bn that it is insignificant when analysing the budget.

For the 2021/22 year, the ward allocation for Ward 61 was used to purchase a grab truck for cleaning illegal dumping in Ocean View. In the past years, the ward allocation was used to create Expanded Public Works Programme jobs in Ocean View, assist substance abuse programs in Ocean View and assist with feeding schemes in Ocean View.

I can assure the reader that under my watch Ocean View will no be ignored nor is it invisible, that things are getting better and that the focus on safety, jobs and houses is paying.