As the assistant ward councillor for Ward 2 I would like to respond to the letter (Humewood full of vagrants) posted by Lara Rooney.
1. The assumption that there has been a “huge increase in vagrants” is simply not true. I have worked with the beach office on various requests of residents to ascertain the whereabouts of these vagrants. The only vagrant I am aware of is the one in front of The Beaches. After I received the complaint that he was relieving himself I immediately approached him and in no uncertain terms explained that it was unacceptable behaviour and that if he did not use the toilet facilities, the police would arrest and remove him. He acknowledged that he understood and that was the end of it. I have also asked the residents of The Beaches to let me know if they saw him doing it again so that I could get the metro police to deal with the problem if it persisted. Ever since I approached him, no one has contacted me or the office again. I request that you please provide proof of said e-mails to my office as I have not received one e-mail, as I requested in case his behaviour continued.
2. As human beings people have rights to freedom of movement in this country and the police can’t remove people from an area if they a re n ’t breaking the law. I request that you understand and respect the fact that they are also human beings who are allowed to move around freely, irrespective of their appearance.
3. The statement by you that your e-mails to the ward office are “passed like boomerangs” is unfortunate and void of any context. The reason this happens is because it is protocol. The ward councillor may not obstruct officials from doing their jobs. The protocol to contact the beach office or city manager is the right procedure to follow.
4. I request that you please contact my office and arrange a meeting with myself and councillor Dean Biddulph so that you can take us to the areas where you are seeing grass “a metre high”. This is simply not true.
5. You make the statement that things were better run under the ANC, but the Ward 2 councillor has been a DA councillor for a very long time, which means that the reason Ward 2 was/is in a good state is because of the work of the ward councillor. The metro police also didn’t exist under the ANC administration so you could not have seen them being more visible under the ANC administration. So your assumption that the ANC was better is once again a statement made without any facts behind it.
To end off my response, I would just like to state how disappointed I am in your lack of honesty in our correspondence. As soon as I received the complaints I took action on the day and requested that if ANY of the concerns weren’t dealt with that you please e-mail me. This has not happened. I also find it very disappointing that you mention these negative points, but yet completely ignore the fact that Beach Road-Marine Drive has never had all its street lights working or had the wonderful amount of lighting it has now.
That along with the fact that the centre islands are actually well looked after and maintained on a regular basis now. Which comes to show that the big wins are ignored and only the negatives are focused on. I can understand the frustration you might be feeling, but the way you have approached this situation as well as the very ignorant statements regarding vagrants in the ward is very unbecoming and unfortunate.
RENALDO GOUWS, PR COUNCILLOR NELSON MANDELA MUNICIPALITY