Supporters of the Movement for Collective Action and Racial Equity gathered at the Civic Centre on Tuesday to protest against the City’s decision to allocate R48 million from needed services for the poor to refurbishing roads for a Formula E event. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Supporters of the Movement for Collective Action and Racial Equity gathered at the Civic Centre on Tuesday to protest against the City’s decision to allocate R48 million from needed services for the poor to refurbishing roads for a Formula E event. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

PICS: Protest over R44 million allocated to fund road upgrades to host Formula E

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Sep 30, 2021

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Cape Town - A group of protesters, upset at the City’s plans to allocate millions of rand to upgrade roads to host the Formula E Grand Prix, gathered at the Civic Centre where councillors were asked to approve the budget allocation.

The protesters, under the banner of the Movement for Collective Action and Racial Equity, staged their demonstration during the special council meeting in protest against the City council’s decision to approve funding of about R44 million needed for road upgrades for the upcoming Formula E-Prix set to take place in February next year.

Organisers said they had received information from trustworthy sources stating that the funds approved by the City council for the road upgrades were funds meant to fund essential services such as water and sanitation for people living in local communities across Cape Town.

Movement for Care and Delft resident Tini Mohau said on hearing that information, community-focused organisations and residents had formed the collective in the hope of successfully challenging the decision by the council to move R44 million from needed services for the poor to refurbishing roads in an affluent area for the upcoming Formula E event.

“Poor and working-class black and coloured people in Cape Town townships have been living with raw sewage in their streets for months and years. Residents of informal settlements are living in water due to floods, they have no access to the most basic of services such as water, toilets and electricity. But R44 million is being wasted on a Formula E race?

“We will not allow Formula E to take place in Cape Town until we have water and sanitation in our communities, until our streets and roads have been fixed until our refuse collection happens and until we have a say in how the budget is spent,” said Mohau.

Kraaifontein resident Nolukholo Nqeto said: “For me, it was important to join this movement because as women we are struggling due to the lack of basic services. Especially the lack of proper water and sanitation services.

“We don’t have toilets, electricity and the luxury of feeling safe as women. We are attacked and raped when we go relieve ourselves, our children are being murdered and assaulted, and they are drowning in overflowing drains. As mothers we are hurting by the way we are living, so we couldn’t just sit by and let the little bit we get, get taken away again,” said Nqeto.

Organisers said they had received information from trustworthy sources stating that the funds approved by the City council for the road upgrades were funds meant to fund essential services. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Organisers said they had received information from trustworthy sources stating that the funds approved by the City council for the road upgrades were funds meant to fund essential services. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Organisers said they had received information from trustworthy sources stating that the funds approved by the City council for the road upgrades were funds meant to fund essential services. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

In response, City Mayco member for transport Rob Quintas said that it was not true that council took money away from directives meant to serve poor communities to upgrade roads for the Formula E event.

“Council approved R44 804 293 to fund the road upgrades required to host the Formula E event. Council was informed that R5 150 000 would be required for the work to be done immediately, in the period up until January 2022, when the balance of funding will be provided during the January adjustments budget process.

“The immediate requirement for R5 150 000 was made available from within the Transport directorate’s budget by transferring R1 150 000 from the Jakes Gerwel Road project and R4 000 000 from the Heideveld Area 5 project. The transfers, however, will have no impact on the two projects.

“As per the report that was served before council and approved during the meeting in August, the remainder of the funds (R39.6 million) will be funded from the internal funds by way of substitution within the City, failing which, an additional allocation will be considered,” said Quintas.

During his speech at the special council meeting, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato briefly spoke on the City’s plans to resolve the ongoing sewage issue plaguing various parts of the City.

Plato said: “We don’t just have a sewage problem in Langa or Khayelitsha, we also have it in Parow and Kuils River. Many times I am called out to Parow or Kuils River. We are working on addressing the issue. The problem is that our underground infrastructure is overwhelmed by the in-stream of people into Cape Town.

“So to fix the problem we are investing, we are investing billions. The system needs to be properly maintained and the pipes need to be replaced,” said Plato.

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Cape Argus

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