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Thursday Sep 22, 2011

Cape Town aims to give a million residents a say in shaping its five-year plan

In the City of Cape Town's most "ambitious" public participation campaign yet, more than one million residents are to be targeted for their input during its latest five-year development plan.

This week, the city kicked off its six-month Integrated Development Plan (IDP) public participation process.

It said the broad outline of the plan reflected the offers it had made to voters during the local government elections in May.

The IDP is developed every five years and informs Cape Town's budget for the following five years. The first budget using the new IDP will be for the 2012/13 financial year.

Mayor Patricia de Lille visited Atlantis last night to outline the plan to residents.

Her chief of staff, Paul Boughey, said the one million target was the city's most ambitious yet. During the last IDP process, only 4 000 residents were involved.

"It's a very ambitious target. We may not achieve it, but we are trying to get as close as possible."

Boughey said "Have your say" forms would be distributed across the city. They would be attached to rates bills or be made available at kiosks at major shopping centres. About 900 000 households receive rates bills each month.

Residents will also be asked for their feedback while queuing at the city's cash offices, clinics and libraries.

There will be nine public meetings in areas that are to include Kraaifontein, Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha. The next meeting is to be held in Ocean View next week.

There will also be meetings in each of the sub-councils.

Boughey said the campaign would include social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

"The mayor has made it clear that we need to reach a whole cross-section of citizens of Cape Town."

De Lille has repeatedly voiced her concern about the level of public participation and the need to increase it, and has referred specifically to the IDP.

Boughey explained that, this time around, the city had a clear set of priorities for the IDP.

He said De Lille's election campaign was based on five pillars. These were an "opportunity city", safe, caring, inclusive and well-run.

These pillars were used in developing the broad outline of the IDP, Boughey said.

This outline was how the city had "translated our electoral mandate into a programme of government".

"The biggest needs in the city are jobs, housing and safety issues. There will be lots of others, but those are certainly at the core of what is worrying people.

"We want to take our clear, strategic priorities and say to people: 'What do you think of them? Are they in line with what you expect us to do or are we missing something?' "

Boughey said each pillar had different objectives. For instance, with safety and security the city proposed allocating more resources to the emergency services.

For transport, one of the goals was ensuring that all residents had access to reliable public transport. There would also be room for area-specific feedback that involved issues like street lighting and refuse removal.

"What we are trying to ensure is that citizens understand that what we do here will affect their lives."

Cape Argus


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