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Sub Council 8 - August Report

August Sub Council




The tragic incidents on the N2 have shown how the community of the Helderberg, and Somerset West in particular, always unites in the face of a challenge particularly in their support of Officer Holtz’s family and Mr Loots and his family.


Since reporting on the establishment of the task group in June, driven by Province and the City, there have been a number of criminal attacks on the N2, the latest of which involved the tragic death of a police officer, and the community have reacted with shock, but also support, to the family of Petrus Holtz. I had previously written to the Provincial Minister of Safety and Security and Provincial Minister of Transport to enquire about the progress with the establishment of the task group and, on hearing the news regarding the latest death on the N2, I requested Alderman JP Smith to assist me. He urgently pressed the Provincial Ministers to arrange a meeting of the task group which took place on the 3 August.


At this meeting, where SAPS, SANRAL, officials from Province, and officials from  ACSA were present, it was agreed that the issue of the lights and the wall along, and in the centre of the N2, had to be urgently addressed by SANRAL, and that all the agencies of the various government departments where committed to working together.


Patrols along the N2 have been stepped up,


The Joint Operations Centre is up and running.


The role players meet on a weekly basis and are all committed to short term and medium term interventions to improve the safety situation.


The communication system put in place by 2 Somerset West residents to enable people to use their celphones as radio’s is linking thousands of people and keeping them informed about the situation on the N2.


Social media and especially the Safe N2 project is being used extensively in the battle to protect residents on the road and the Helderberg Crime Watch are voluntarily giving of their time and resources to assist on the N2. HCW are to be commended for stepping up to assist with patrols on the N2 and their assistance has been acknowledged by both the City and the Province.


None of this though, nor the arrest of two suspects, takes away from the fact that these terrible incidents have taken place and my thoughts are with the families of the victims.




With the issue of the N2 so uppermost in all our minds we mustn’t forget that the N2 over Sir Lowry’s Pass still requires further attention and that while steps have been taken, issues such as the need for an arrestor bed and better control of heavy vehicles moving down the pass have not been adequately addressed.


For this reason I have been engaging with the Provincial Government and through them, with SANRAL, around these issues and we are fortunate to have Mr Siebernagel and his colleagues here with us today from Provincial Government who will present to us what is being done and what further plans there are for the pass.




The progress with regards to the Incremental Housing Development in Sir Lowry’s Pass is on the agenda which is designed to yield 177 top structures and the anticipated completion date is 2 October 2015. The need to ensure greater safety for communities in informal settlements has guided the City in developing a program for re-blocking of such areas to ensure that fires do not spread as rapidly as they otherwise might and that emergency vehicles are better able to access informal settlement areas. An item in this regard is on today’s agenda setting out details of planned interventions in the Helderberg.


The Mayor has personally stepped in to ensure that the long outstanding Morkel’s Cottages Housing Development is back on track so that the City can properly meet the needs of this community who have been patient for long enough now.


A good example of innovation arising out of adversity is the local company, Transception, who are taking their Khusela Ikhaya project to communities in informal settlements and using fire-retardant paint to enhance safety of residents by giving people more time to escape burning structures, slowing the spread of fires and giving rescue vehicles more time to reach the scene.


The quarterly feedback report on the progress with the upgrade of the Strand Pavilion Precinct is reported on this month and will be on the sub council website, and sent to ward committees to ensure that the public is kept updated on this important initiative.




The quarterly reports from City Parks is on the agenda today, and it is obvious that more and more communities are working with the City to better utilise the parks in their areas which enhances the area. The report on steps the City is taking to better secure the Somerset West Cemetery is also  on the agenda as we work towards ensuring more dignified spaces for residents in their final resting places.


Finally, while infrastructure development is vital for economic growth, so too is the need for a proper legislative framework. Hence the publication of the Integrated Zoning Scheme which amalgamated 27 zoning schemes from around the City. Flowing from this is the development of local area plans such as the process for the Local Area Policy Plan for the Gordons Bay Development Area which is presented on today’s agenda. These plans are intended to guide local development and the process set out today is, inter alia, to enable residents and local stakeholders to have input into these plans. In this way we can enable both public and private development in line with the wishes of the community, and in terms of sound planning principles.


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