Prioritise needs

Tamsin Nel, Tokai

Sometime ago, I heard of a plan to construct a bicycle lane running along roads in Constantia, including the Spaanschemat River Road at a cost of millions of rands. I thought that a sense of decency would prevail and rationality would put this idea in the bin. But recently a very large sign board has been erected notifying the public that a “non-motorised transportation lane” will shortly be constructed.

These roads (some leading to and from greenbelts and mountain trails) are not used in any significant capacity by cyclists to transport themselves from A to B.

Rather, the majority of cyclists in this are leisure cyclists. Yes, over the years a few cyclists have been knocked over, sometimes resulting in tragedy and while the deaths are tragic and should never have happened in the first place, these leisure cyclists chose to cycle on a road that carries a significant road traffic risk factor.

What else is happening in the City of Cape Town?

Take Westlake, for example. We know that thousands of children, the bedrock of our future foundation and living in the City of Cape Town, are on a daily basis victims of extreme neglect or abuse, are being exposed to alcohol and drugs, being forced into child prostitution or being inducted into exceptionally violent gangs. Thousands and thousands of these children go from being the victim to growing up to becoming the offender, resulting in tens of thousands of lives being destroyed day in and day out.

More funding for social workers, places of safety and other support structures, such as non-profit organisations to protect or rehabilitate is needed to significantly counter this vicious cycle.

For those elected leaders, who hold so much power in the palms of their hands, this city is sick to death of the justifications of “specific budget allocated to specific projects”.

Get your priorities straight and and in the name of justice and progress for all, start doing what you were elected to do.

I am a South African citizen and a single mother who cannot venture out my front door with my child without fearing for our safety.

If you build these leisure bicycle lanes you are telling me and the rest of this City that my safety, my child’s safety and my fellow citizens’ safety is not as important as the desire is for those from a minority group for a leisure cycle lane.

* Brett Herron, Mayoral committee member for transport, responds:

Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, is undertaking a major project in the areas of Diep River, Meadowridge, Sweet Valley, Forest Glade, Westlake and Tokai to improve or refurbish the existing sidewalks and to provide new walkways for pedestrians where there are currently no such facilities available.

Cycle lanes will be created where possible, and we will also install traffic lights at certain intersections to improve the safety of road users in general.

Furthermore, we intend to replace and install stormwater infrastructure along certain sections of the roads – this is necessary to prolong the longevity of the roads in these areas.

Contrary to what is said in the letter, the project will improve the safety of all road users in the area – including pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, among them children. This project also forms part of our annual roads maintenance programme as the City is tasked with the responsibility of looking after our road infrastructure which is a very important asset to all of those living and working in Cape Town. The project is thus to the benefit of us all, not only a selected few.

It is important to note that the South African Police Service, and not the City of Cape Town, is responsible for crime prevention and the investigation of crimes.

That said, the proposed budget allocation for the City’s Directorate: Safety and Security for the 2016/17 year is nearly R2.8 billion – the third largest of all of the City’s directorates.

In addition, the proposed social package for the 2016/17 year for indigent households, pensioners and all of those who use water and electricity sparingly, amounts to R2.5 billion – R1.1 billion in indigent relief and an additional R1.4 billion in rates rebates.

The City of Cape Town has a proud track record of service delivery; we plan years ahead, and everything that we do is with the sole intention of improving the lives of those living within the city.

* See pages 1 and 3