Residents, ANC fight MyCiti bus route plans
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
The provincial ANC would lobby national government to suspend all funding for the MyCiti bus expansion if local transport officials refuse to reveal its upgrade costs.
Cameron Dugmore, the ANC member on the provincial transport and public works committee, yesterday said they wanted to know how much the controversial MyCiti expansion would cost in Wynberg and Plumstead.
Councillor Brett Herron, the city’s mayoral committee member for transport, instead hit back at the ANC.
“The ANC is playing a very dangerous and irresponsible game in working to sabotage a vital transport project that will benefit people from communities that are in desperate need for rapid, affordable, dignified and direct transport,” he said.
Wynberg and Plumstead residents have meanwhile condemned the city’s plans to bulldoze their council-owned homes to expand the MyCiti route.
The route’s expansion has meant residents now face eviction so a new road could be built for the MyCiti bus to pass through the southern suburbs. City officials had given residents until yesterday to vacate their houses.
One of the residents, Clive Muller, said yesterday they would “leave this matter in the hands of the court”.
“We are 26 families that are staying here and facing eviction,” said Muller.
Wynberg resident Kristina Davidson, chairperson of the Wynberg Residents and Ratepayers Association, said they wanted Herron to show them an environmental impact of building a road for the MyCiti route.
“They are proposing to build a new road through an established residential area. People say it will be better for congestion. It won’t. It’s disastrous and will destroy heritage,” she said.
“They’re avoiding questions we keep asking them. Why are they demolishing houses and evicting people when they still have to do an environmental impact?”
Davidson added: “They’re misusing national government funding.”
Dugmore said Herron had been “unable to produce any costing of the South Road route and the Brodie Road couplet” where the proposed MyCiti bus would operate.
“This route requires expropriation of privately owned property. They have been unable to produce any costing and impact study for the alternative routes proposed by community organisations,” said Dugmore.
He said the ANC supported the MyCiti project but wanted an “inclusive task team to be set up to investigate all alternatives” in Wynberg and Plumstead.
“The ANC will lobby national government to suspend all funding for phase two (of the MyCiti project) until this demand is met,” said Dugmore.
He added: “The ANC does not want to sabotage anything. This is a matter of principle. It’s about the constitutional obligation to consult and treat communities with respect.
“The DA is lying to communities and abusing them. We have to stand together with communities and take this city and province forward.”
Dugmore said he had written to Lennit Max, who chairs the provincial legislature’s standing committee on transport and public works.
The committee’s first meeting is set for Tuesday and Dugmore has asked Lennit to invite Herron as well as affected residents to attend the meeting.
“The purpose is to question the city about their failure to consult affected communities and explore all alternatives for the proposed MyCiti route. Also to ask the community structures to present their alternative routes,” said Dugmore.
“It is critical that Herron answers to the standing committee as to why they are proceeding with demolition of council houses while the consultation process has not even begun.”
Herron said the ANC “can continue to fight to prevent this service from being implemented for the sake of 26 families who are renting city owned suburban houses”.
He said the 26 families “all agreed to the terms of their leases which provides that those leases and their right to occupancy can be terminated when the South Road scheme is needed to be implemented”.
“In doing so, the ANC is turning their backs on about 1.4 million residents across 35 communities who stand to benefit from this transport project,” said Herron.
Herron said a new road needed to be built as the MyCiti bus “is not an ordinary bus service that can travel on any road”.
“There is no other viable alternative route into the Wynberg CBD that can be implemented without impacting on existing properties. The properties that would be impacted on by the route we propose are city owned and were acquired for the purpose of demolition to build the roadway.”
He added: “Our plans have been supported and approved by the national department of transport.”
“There are no evictions at this point. We have terminated the leases each tenant has with the city.
“If a tenant refuses to vacate after the lawful termination of their lease we will have to approach the courts for an appropriate order.”