WWRA is apolitical

Darron Araujo, Wynberg

I write in my personal capacity in response to Gwyneth Collins.

I am an ordinary member of the Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (WRRA). I once sat on its executive committee as chairperson.

I also chaired the IGM to which Ms Collins refers and was forwarded a rather venomous email from her in which she stated, regarding same, “The opening remarks from the chairman sounded so positive and constructive and the Orient Road matter so otherwise, that I am rather glad I have not yet signed up as a member – I would not like to be guilty of endorsing vindictiveness.”

As per my reply to Ms Collins then, and as a founding member who helped draft our constitution, I still hold that, “The WRRA will be an association that undertakes to uphold the objectives outlined in Schedule Three of our Constitution [similarly] without fear or favour: and this does involve holding public authorities accountable – and not only this, but also helping local government, and undertaking our own initiatives.”

The WRRA is an apolitical residents’ and ratepayers’ association that represents the interests of its members: its concerns and activities are far broader than the inappropriate development at 27 Orient Road and the City’s inappropriate route for the MyCiTi service.

It is the WRRA’s community safety sub-committee that did the groundwork to help form the Wynberg S1 Neighbourhood Watch, and remains actively involved with our local community policing forum.

It is the WRRA’s environmental sub-committee that runs annual surveys regarding the endangered Cape Rain Frog, while detailing other local flora and fauna, and liaising with the Environmental Resources Management of the City of Cape Town.

It is the WRRA’s communications sub-committee and secretary that run a highly successful website giving residents a platform for dialogue.

It is the WRRA’s land use and legal sub-committee that considers multiple development applications on an ongoing basis: not all applications are objected to, as these are individually considered and read against the City’s own Municipal Planning By-law in addition to other relevant legislation.

It is the WRRA’s municipaliInfrastructure sub-committee that liaises not only with the City regarding concerns, but also, for example, with our local taxi associations where appropriate.

Representing members’ interests is what the chair is elected to do. Kristina Davidson has done so deftly.

It’s no secret that an extraordinary number of ratepayers and businesses in Wynberg are against the mindless – and mindlessly expensive – section of the MyCiTi route that will destroy Wynberg as we know it and cost approximately R200 million to not even reach the Wynberg station. And there are indeed dissenting residents who discount significant, substantial arguments and believe the route to be positive – often with a dash of the emetic, condescending colonial paternalism Ms Collins’ writing displays.

It is also common knowledge that it is the City, not its rate-paying citizens, that is incurring wasteful public expenditure in appealing the damning High Court judgement against the COCT’s flawed public participation process.

From my understanding Ms Collins was not and is not a member of the WRRA: I welcome being corrected if mistaken.

And if you’re not a member, you don’t have a say in the organisation.

So whom does Ms Collins represent?

Let Ms Collins put her money where her mouth is and purchase a unit at 27 Orient Road if her concern for the developer’s financial well-being remains so acute.

Perhaps the free market senses what residents’ concerns were: perhaps this is partly why the greater portion of the development remains unsold.