Victory for City in MyCiTi route battle

The Western Cape High Court has ruled in favour of the City which will now go ahead with the Wynberg MyCiTi route.

The South Road Families Association (SRFA) say they are disappointed by a court ruling which gives the City the go-head to implement the next phase of the MyCiTi bus route in Wynberg.

They are prepared to take the case to the Constitutional Court, even though the City now says it might not use South Road as part of the development after all.

The South Road residents faced eviction from their homes which were to be demolished to make way for the bus route.

On Friday February 10, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the City, upholding the City’s appeal in the South Road matter.

The court found that proper consultation processes were followed, rejecting claims by residents that this was not done. The ruling means the City can move forward with plans to extend the Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha bus routes to Wynberg and Claremont.

“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,” said Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development authority.

But while the 26 families facing eviction said they will not move without a fight, Mr Herron indicated the street may not be affected by Phase 2 at all.

“The City has not yet decided whether South Road will be used for the implementation of the second phase of the MyCiTi service.

“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,” said Mr Herron.

He said the court cases have delayed the project by about two years.

In a transport development index last year the City found that low income households are spending on average 40 percent of household income on the direct cost of transport. In some parts of the city this is as high as 60 percent.

Mr Herron said that Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service is the second biggest and will impact 1.4 million people making it disproportionate to the residents living in South Road.

He also stated in court that they will not request the SRFA and the 21 tenants to pay the City’s legal costs in this matter. “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 Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha by nearly two years,” he said.

Clive Muller, spokesman for the SRFA, said they are disappointed with the verdict and may now head to the Constitutional Court to oppose the bus route.

“We feel that the facts have been misinterpreted and that justice has not been served. In a province where there is a housing backlog why must houses be thrown down when alternative arrangements can be made?” asked Mr Muller.

Asked what the association’s response was to the City’s claims that South Road may not be affected by Phase 2, Mr Muller said they don’t believe this to be true.

“From the onset the City has preferred South Road. We are not fooled by the sudden change of heart and we will go back to the drawing board because we’re not going to give up. This has now become a constitutional issue and therefore we will take it to the Constitutional Court,” said Mr Muller.

Kristina Davidson, chairperson of the Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA), said they feel encouraged and are pleased that the South Road route was not “set in stone” and that the City has publicly stated that a final decision will only be made after reviewing public participation results.

“We have already checked out the results and found that an overwhelming majority of residents do not want the proposed route and prefer the alternative suggestion, which is similar to the route currently used by Golden Arrow,” said Ms Davidson.

She said the WRRA hopes the City will carry out a best-use analysis of the different routes that considers the broader urban development agenda and not just traffic congestion.

“Such an analysis should look at the impact of the different routes on the City’s finances, on Wynberg’s environment and heritage, on Main Road businesses and on commuters who use the Wynberg transport interchange.”