Residents’ and ratepayers’ body celebrates 70 years

Some of the CRRA committee members, Sheila Camerer, Yvonne Leibman, Mike Eayrs, Robert Thorp and Julian Leibman.

The Constantia Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association held its 70th annual general meeting last week.

Held at Groot Constantia’s winetasting venue, the guest speaker was ratepayer activist Chris Marshall, from Camps Bay Ratepayers’ Association, who spent lockdown putting together a pamphlet, “Conversations with the City – a libertarian rant”.

CRRA’s treasurer, Robert Thorp, painted a bleak picture of the association’s financial situation, saying there were 435 paid-up members from a total 1 085 the previous year.

Funds in the bank stand at R428 000 as opposed to R749 000 the previous year.

Chairwoman Sheila Camerer said the association had lost two exco members this year.

Alec Pienaar served on the committee for 17 years, 10 of those as chairman. “A lawyer by profession, he was passionate about justice for all in South Africa. He was a founder member of the DP and active local committee member for the DA. He was much loved for his generosity, warmth, kindness, hospitality, humour and optimism,” she said.

Chris Rousseau served on the exco for 10 years, seven of those as chair of the land use sub-committee.

“He had a passion for the history of Constantia, particularly that of the many previously dispossessed families. He was a structural engineer and often had pragmatic solutions in considering planning matters,” said Ms Camerer.

Crime in Constantia was at its lowest levels for a long time thanks to the efforts of Constantia Watch, she said. However, there had been an increase in beggars and squatters due to Covid-19-related job losses and the early release of prisoners from Pollsmoor.

Ms Camerer urged residents to give to charities that helped the homeless and not to the homeless directly.

Councillor Liz Brunette spoke about the City’s new baboon-management contractor, the sports complex between the M3 and Constantia Road, law enforcement not being allowed to remove squatters under lockdown regulations, and the impact of Covid-19 on City sanitation team.