Xanthea Limberg, Sub-council 20’s new chairwoman, says she will make it her “personal permission“ to pull Wynberg out of its urban-decay nosedive so it can realise its potential as a key transport node.
The proportional representation (PR) councillor was speaking at the sub-council’s inaugural meeting on Wednesday February 16.
Her new position represents a return from a brief stint in the political wilderness after she was dropped as a mayoral committee member last year while she was investigated by the party’s federal council over claims that she had lied about her qualifications.
Earlier this month, the Weekend Argus reported that she had now been cleared of any wrongdoing. The newspaper quoted DA City of Cape Town caucus leader and mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis as saying the caucus had decided that “the circumstances of her case do not preclude her from serving in government”.
He added: “She was already excluded out of Mayco, and she is more than competent for this position. I have no doubt she’ll do a great job in Sub-council 20.”
At last week’s meeting, Ms Limberg outlined her vision, including arranging street closures to boost businesses in similar fashion to the City closing Bree Street over the festive season, but she did not give any dates.
“These events (street closures) do not necessarily have to be centred on restaurants and the hospitality industry, but can be open-air cinemas, and theatre or concert events that bring residents together and help communities reclaim their streets,” she said.
Ms Limberg also spoke about boosting law enforcement in Wynberg as well developments in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg, among other things.
The sub-council area straddles six wards and runs from Rondebosch to Constantia Valley, a part of Retreat and Westlake, among other areas.
She said every ward under the sub-council had unique challenges and possibilities for innovative improvements and developments to create business growth and job creation in the tourism sector.
“I intend to identify these opportunities in every ward and, using the delegations to sub-councils, create sub-committees and working groups – consisting of councillors, officials and the local organisations and the community – to achieve delivery on each of these over the next term.
“Whether it is securing and enhancing local parks, driving urban generation in business areas, addressing water, sanitation and waste issues within informal settlements, tackling the challenges represented by homelessness, the sub-council can and will fulfil the role of being the fuel to drive meaningful change.”
She announced plans to give the sub-council a name and asked councillors to consider her proposal. Ms Limberg said the name would forge close relations between the sub-council and its constituents.
The three-term councillor urged her colleagues to latch on to the Mayor’s Urban Regeneration Programme to revive neglected and dysfunctional areas, central business districts, community nodes and commercial corridors.
She identifies the Wynberg CBD as one such area.
“This area has been troubled with urban decay, traffic and public transport management issues, homelessness, problem buildings, and increasing crime,” Ms Limberg said.
“I will make Wynberg my personal mission to drive the urban regeneration expected by the thousands of commuters and business who use it daily, in order to capitalise on the area’s full potential as one of the most important transport nodal points in our city.”
She is lobbying for the City’s budget to include law enforcement resources to support the Wynberg CBD. Ms Limberg said she will also prioritise human settlements, water and electricity projects in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg.
Speaking to the Bulletin on the sidelines, Ms Limberg said she was humbled by the confidence shown to her by her colleagues to lead “an incredibly diverse” sub-council area.
Quizzed on the impact of the qualifications saga on her, she said: “It has been a difficult time, but I respected the due process that had to be followed.
“I hope to move forward, working with my colleagues and the officials in making our city even greater. When anyone goes through a personally difficult period, it does take a toll.”