STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: TRANSPORT AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON
The full bench of the Western Cape High Court this morning, 10 February 2017, ruled in favour of the City of Cape Town when the judges, in a unanimous judgment, upheld the City’s appeal in what is commonly referred to as the South Road Families matter.
This victory confirms the City’s assertion right from the start that we have followed a comprehensive public participation process about the conceptual design of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi bus service which is to connect the communities from the metro-south east with Wynberg and Claremont.
The judgment is also a fitting honour in memory of the late Steven Otter, who was head of the City’s community engagement for this project. Steven passionately and diligently organised and attended more than 30 open days within communities across the metro-south east, Wynberg and Claremont, where residents provided their input and made submissions. Steven also facilitated information sessions with community leaders, ward councillors and subcouncils. He spent numerous evenings in these meetings – today we can say those hours were not spent in vain.
The South Road Families Association (SRFA) and 21 tenants residing in Council-owned properties along South and Waterbury Roads in Plumstead filed this case against the City in March 2015 with the political backing and I believe the funding of the ANC.
This court action was a waste of our ratepayers’ money and will unfairly and unnecessarily delay the much-needed roll-out of the MyCiTi service to the residents of Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha by nearly two years.
These tenants were used by the ANC who, at that time, were pursuing their own narrow political interests in the run-up to the local government elections.
Despite these attempts to derail and undermine the City’s most important public transport infrastructure project to date, Judge Meer – who wrote the unanimous judgment – found that:
· The City engaged in a comprehensive public participation process which had commenced in August 2014 and included enagements with the South Road Families Association and its 21 members who reside along South and Waterbury Roads in Plumstead
· The City was in the process of fulfilling its legal obligations to facilitate public participation when the case was brought against it and acted reasonably in discharging our obligations
· The City had taken steps to ensure that the public would have a meaningful opportunity to be heard
· The City had already considered alternative routes and had presented information on these alternatives to the public during the public consultation process
The full bench of the High Court subsequently upheld the City’s appeal and dismissed the order granted to the SRFA by Judge Weinkove on 12 October 2015.
The City has not yet decided whether South Road will be used for the implementation of the second phase of the MyCiTi service. We were interdicted from doing so by the Weinkove order. That interdict is now lifted and we will now meticulously analyse and respond to the public comments that we have received about the proposed routes for the Wynberg section of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service. Once we have completed this process, a report with the proposed route alignments will be presented to Council for final approval.
We also stated in court last week that we will not request the SRFA and the 21 tenants to pay our legal costs in this matter.