Statement by Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary General and member of Western Cape Provincial Parliament
21 July 2021
In March, the City of Cape Town made its normal noises about its Annual Winter Readiness Programme focussing on the clearing of the stormwater systems, particularly in flood prone areas.
What’s different, this year, is that the Winter Readiness Programme doesn’t appear to actually exist.
In the past, the programme has included the cleaning of gullies, catchpits, pipes and ponds – and, critically, clearing stormwater drains.
If the system is not cleared, it leads to blockages and localised flooding after heavy rains.
What the City omitted to mention in March was that its labour-intensive stormwater clearing contract lapsed last year and has not been renewed.
Two weeks ago it was brought to GOOD’s attention that a report had emerged at various sub-councils indicating that the Winter Readiness Programme could not be implemented due to “implementation constraints”.
According to the report, the “program has had to be implemented on an ad-hoc basis by internal depot teams. The norm is that the program be implemented by contracted services via our Labour Intensive Tender, which unfortunately expired in June 2020”.
For the past month, GOOD has sought to lay its hands on the actual Winter Readiness Programme plan, but all that’s to be found is the announcement by the Mayor.
As more winter storms lash Cape Town, the impact of council’s decision to suspend the stormwater drain clearing programme has been noticeable in the number of blocked drains and new water hazards in communities.
GOOD has submitted a PAIA application to force the City to reveal its winter readiness plan.
The City must be held to account for false promises, fake pronouncements and rank service delivery.