Controversial pylons, get another extension
Controversial pylons, get another extension – On the 30th of March, at a Council meeting which lasted well into the early hours of the morning, the Item proposing that Eskom be allowed to erect high-power pylons through the CBD of Alberton was profusely debated by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Councillors in Ekurhuleni.
I have been contesting the proposal since 2011 and together with Cllr Alta De Beer, the DA Shadow MMC for the Infrastructure Oversight Committee, tried to motivate why this item should not be approved.
In my speech to the Executive Mayor, Cllr Mzwandile Masina, I pointed out that the Item was bursting at the seams with tales of deceit and deliberate omissions in order to mislead everyone. In fact, the inclusion of the Item on the Agenda appears to be ultra vires because the public participation requirements were not completed, as required by law.
At a meeting on the 3rd of March, Cllr Dino Petersen, the Chairperson of the Infrastructure Oversight Committee, gave the community of Alberton his word that there would be a legally constituted public participation meeting giving the residents three weeks’ notice. The meeting was to give the residents an opportunity and platform to express their views and sentiments regarding the project. The residents were not contacted and the said meeting did not happened. Cllr Petersen blatantly lied to the community of Alberton and he completely ignored the residents’ concerns. Cllr Tiaan Kotze and I have been the only sources of information for the residents as it clearly appears that Cllr Peterson has very little or no regard for the public that elected him and those he claims to serve.
Taking the above into consideration, various and valid reasons as to why this proposal should not be accepted were highlighted and I challenged the Executive Mayor to do the right thing and listen to the concerns of the residents, who have been against the defacement of the Alberton CBD from the onset. But, alas, the challenge fell on deaf ears as Cllr Masina did not even bother to respond. Instead, he allowed the ruling party and the EFF to sway his opinion.
Despite the total disregard of the Batho Pele principles, the ANC and the EFF voted to approve the sale of all the 54 land parcels in Ekurhuleni at a value of a mere R20 million. To add insult to injury, I was sent a letter for the approval of the second extension of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The letter states that the application for extension has been approved, despite the fact that only one extension is allowed where after, the application process should start anew.
The DA in Ekurhuleni promises to take this matter up and to keep the community abreast of all further developments.
Ald Bruna Haipel
DA Ward Councillor in Ekurhuleni