PRRA: Archive 2010

Notes From General Meeting

held on 2 June 2010 at 6pm at the Pinelands Town Hall at 7:30 pm

Special Ratings Area
At the General Meeting held on Wednesday 2nd June, Taffy Roberts discussed the Special Ratings Area for which he had received a very positive response, but he needed to update his 2004 database and gave the assurance that it would be used solely to gauge public support for a Special Ratings Area. His e-mail address is

Inspector Louis Waters, SAPS Operational Commander, reported a number of thefts from cars and urged people to ensure that they left nothing in their cars to tempt thieves to break in. Driveways should be well lit to prevent cars being broken when parked there. He urged people to join sector patrols to combat crime, particularly roof break-ins which had begun in October - a danger month.

Flowers vs. Mowing
By a small majority the audience voted in favour of mowing the verges even in the spring flower season, but it was agreed that the flowers should be left to grow in Forest Drive and Juliana Veld.

Logan Way
There was unanimous agreement that Logan Way should be one way from Sheldon Way to Forest Drive, so that parking should be left in and left out. Adequate parking bays for delivery vehicles on the left would make unloading much easier. It was suggested that Glen Roy should also become one way from Forest Drive.

Howard Centre
Complaints have been received that the tiles in the Centre are slippery and hazardous for the elderly. Coin security vans parking in disabled bays have been causing great inconvenience, particularly to Helen Keller transport.

The paths along Elsieskraal were still unsatisfactory and Pinelanders are asked to contact the Ratepayers’ Association about potholes, broken bricks, etc.

Demolition of Athlone Cooling Towers
Residents living near the cooling towers expressed concern about possible clouds of dust or windows shattered by the blast. The Ratepayers’ Association has received an application from Golf Estate and Property Investments Trust to hold a party at Pinelands Soccer Club to watch the demolition on Sunday 1 August. It is proposed to have a DJ and live band playing from 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with about 5,600 guests and a liquor licence. The Association is concerned about the effect on neighbours living only 150 metres away, plus problems of parking, crowd control, sanitation, cleaning up, etc. Please send your views about this party and any other matter to

Water Problems in Pinelands

A current problem facing Pinelands is water. The valves on the water pipes are failing, which is why water is periodically cut off. No-one seems to know where the pipes run and which areas should be isolated until the leak has been repaired, so water is often cut off unnecessarily. Unfortunately, this problem will only get worse until all the valves are replaced - a very costly exercise. A related problem is sewage because many sewage pipes are too small, leading to blockages and overflows.’

What the Association Does

There was once a cartoon of a man home from work looking with appalled horror at his living room, which seemed to have been hit by a hurricane, with a view of the kitchen sink piled high with unwashed dishes while his wife stretched out on the couch reading a magazine remarks `You always tell me I do nothing all day, so that’s what I did.’

People (like the husband) often say a Ratepayers Association does nothing and ask what’s the point of joining. If things run smoothly, we take them for granted. It’s when things go wrong, that the Association is needed. We can and do intervene to help residents in dispute with neighbours or the Council.

Of course, the Association cannot fix the potholes or mow the grass verges, but it can and does pressurise the Council to do its job. One of the most important functions of the Association is to maintain the Garden City image by enforcing bye-laws such as building regulations, so, for example, the committee will not allow a 3-storey structure or any building on the boundary lines.

The local bye-laws also specify that all houses must be primarily residential, so a business can be run from home provided the owner lives there and uses only part of the house for work purposes. Owner-occupied bed and breakfast establishments are acceptable; guest houses run by a non-resident manager are not. Enforcement of the bye-laws upsets those who want to break them, but the Association will not set any precedents which would turn Pinelands into an over-built concrete jungle with whole streets turned into commercial areas.

The Association is also registered as an Interested Party with all the big proposed developments in Pinelands and the neighbourhood, so nothing can be done without first informing the Association which will always act in the best interest of Pinelands residents.

Notes From The Rates Valuation Meeting

held on Tue 23 Mar at 6pm at Oude Molen Academy of Science and Technology

Background information
Christopher Gavor, Director, Valuations, explained that the current valuations were fixed at 1 July 2009 to be implemented on 1 July 2010, therefore ratepayers had to note the house sales and values at 1 July 2009.

Reasons for objections
Objections to valuations can be lodged. The values of all houses in the neighbourhood and the objection forms were on the website. The prices obtained on house sales from 2008 – 2009 can be used to support objections. 2006 and 2009 prices should be compared. Sale prices indicate market values. 30 April 2010 is the closing date for objections. Property had increased in value since 2006, despite a decline in mid 2008.

Sectional Title properties
A discrepancy was noted between the increases in freehold values and the value of sectional title property which was up 30% above market values. The 750 sectional title properties in Pinelands would be inspected by the end of June.

Lodging objections
Objectors should first fill in the objection form on the Council’s website, and attach any other relevant information such as sales in the neighbourhood, but if there were no sales, the objector should get an idea of what his/her property was worth by getting advice from a City valuer or estate agent.

Pensioners’ rebate
Pensioners were entitled to a rebate and should enquire from the City Council.

Discrepancies in valuation
There were inexplicable discrepancies in the valuations of houses in the immediate area. A property previously valued at R800,000.00 had been revalued to R2.46 million even though nothing had changed. Comparisons should not be made with the previous valuation for the house, but with sale prices in 2006 and how much the value of property had increased since then.

A study of 500 neighbourhoods had shown that property values had increased between 15 – 20%. Pinelands had 4 distinct neighbourhoods with varying prices. Valuations were based both on sales within a specific area and on sales within a certain radius. The information was on the website but it was difficult to identify micro areas and anomalies. How could the price fetched by the sale of a 6-bedroom house affect the value of a 4-bedroom house? What were the parameters used to evaluate new houses? The data of each house should be used rather than a rigid formula. The Council website contained all the data on each individual property and an objection could be lodged if the data were incorrect. The models used for arriving at a valuation were regularly audited in order to conform to international standards.

Gated communities
Though properties in gated areas varied considerably in size, prices for sales at The Orchards had gone up 50%.

Community input
Because of the way Pinelands was planned and built, each house is different and impossible to judge the interior. It was suggested that a committee of knowledgeable residents liaise with the Council and estate agents to arrive an average valuation across Pinelands. This was warmly welcomed by Christopher Gavor who recommended visiting the Council’s website

Pinelands Special Rating Area

The subject of the establishment of a Special Rating Area (SRA) (old CID) was discussed at the Neighbourhood Watch Meeting on Wed 17 March. A poll of the audience showed support. At this stage 'Taffy' Roberts has had a letter from the Ratepayers giving their support for the process to set up an SRA which will entail funding and a Special General Meeting at a date yet to be decided. More details will be posted as they are available.

UCT was the driving force to establish a Special Rating Area (SRA) in Groote Schuur; Mowbray was also applying for a SRA. Riad Davids of the Pinelands Ratepayers Exco warned that if Pinelands did not also become a SRA, it would attract criminals driven out of neighbouring suburbs with a higher crime-fighting profile.

A meeting would be held for Pinelanders to express their view and to determine how much of the suburb to include. A 50%+1 majority would decide. Alderman Watkyns pointed out that an important difference between the SRA and CID was that the SRA legislation made provision for the indigent who could not afford additional expense.

Howard Centre

At a meeting with Madelein van den Berg, General Manager, Howard Centre, members of the Pinelands Ratepayers Association Exco raised a number of matters of concern, in particular Logan Way which the Association insists should be one-way from Sheldon Way, enabling cars to turn left into the library car park and exit left towards Forest Drive, thus avoiding the traffic congestion caused by the present unsatisfactory system. The right hand side (near the flats) should be used for parallel parking and the left for loading bays enabling delivery vans to unload directly onto the pavement.

The Association approved a raised intersection between the multi-storey car park and the Centre. As the second and third floors of the car park are underutilised, a lift was suggested.

• The Association also approved the proposed plans to improve the library car park including a covered area for the fruit vendors.

• There was concern that the rubbish bins were still being cleaned by environmentally harmful methods.

• John Berry was reassured that there were no plans to introduce a bottle store or change Pinelands from its present status as a dry suburb.

Traffic flow at the Library parking entrance at Howard Centre is a problem.
The Pinelands Ratepayers Association Exco wants Logan Way to change to one-way from Sheldon Way to Forest Drive, enabling cars to turn left into the library car park and exit left towards Forest Drive, thus avoiding the traffic congestion.
(see the proposal and picture above)
Do you agree that this is the best solution?

(there were 100 votes in this poll)

Informal Settlements - The Challenge for Cape Town

Notes from a presentation by Gerry Adlard at
the PRRA meeting on 17 Feb 2010

We live in

  • A beautiful city
  • A city with a legacy – the accumulation of centuries of prejudice and the devastation of apartheid
  • In a country where the possibility of a rural livelihood is constantly diminishing
  • In a continent whose people are on the move to towns and cities

Poverty and the future of poverty have been substantially excluded from local & business planning and strategy exercises.

Population Statistics

World Population 6.6 billion
50% urban population
Of which 32% live in slums/informal settlements

Sub Saharan Africa 747 million
35% urban population
Of which 72% live in slums/informal settlements
The forecast 2030 urban population is 2,5 times its 2000 level.

South Africa 48 million
56% urbanised in 2001
1,1% annual population growth rate
Average growth rate of cities 3%
Growth rate of small towns is higher

Cape Town 3,57 million
Estimated 947 000 households
Growing by 50 000 people per year
30 % below the poverty line

In 2006, 72% of Cape Town’s labour force worked in either skilled or highly skilled professions. The balance are low-skilled elementary workers and domestic workers in mostly service sector jobs. The medium-skilled (most of them former manufacturing workers) are under-skilled for the new vacancies and at the same time over-skilled for manual labour jobs. Cape Town is becoming a service-based city-region economy. Employers are critically short of workers with the appropriate skills, and tend to make up the deficit with capital or foreign labour, thereby increasing the vulnerability of the city-region’s economy.

The under-provision of subsidised housing in Cape Town
150 000 householdslive in informal settlements
200 000 householdslive in overcrowded formal housing or in yards
So 350 000 households is the total Housing Backlog
This is 37% of all households in the city.
The net annual increase in the Backlog is about 18 000 households

Where does the influx go?
The City makes no space available for these extra 18 000 households a year.
The space has to be found in suburbs and townships that are already poor and overcrowded.
Squatting on or invading open spaces is prohibited
Extending a shack in an informal settlement is tightly controlled
They can replace someone in an informal settlement by buying or renting a shack
They rent space in private properties: floor space, bed space, room, or a shack in the yard
Owning a shack in an informal settlement is rent-free. Anything else costs rent.

What is happening in Cape Town's poor areas?
At least two thirds of the city’s households are poor and nearly 40% of our residents are inadequately housed. Therefore only 280 000 poor households have adequate housing. But they must also accommodate the 200 000 un-housed households who are not living in informal settlements – so on average every 10 poor households have 7 other poor households living with them, permanently. At the current increments of housing supply & demand there will be an average of 2 households living in each poor home or flat in 10 years time.

How long can this continue?
How long can this compression within poor communities continue before it explodes – into Protest? Violence? Epidemics? Poor people will continue coming to Cape Town and cannot be prevented from doing so... This is a worldwide trend. It is more a problem of poverty rather than a housing problem. Where there is land available, there are no jobs or infrastrucure there so it is not viable for poor people to live there.

Challenges & Opportunities?

The Jammie Shuttle

Sharon Timlin, Vice chairperson Pinelands Neighborhood Watch, gave a summary of the Jammie Shuttle issue in Pinelands at the PRRA meeting on 17 Feb 2010

There has been no improvement with regards to the transport problem faced by U.C.T Students. We have been trying to get the U.C.T. Jammie shuttle to Pinelands for sometime now. We were made aware of the transport problem through a petition on facebook, signed by 100 of the 800 students residing in Pinelands. We have also had students moving out of Pinelands due to transport problems.

Our biggest concern is the safety issue surrounding the lack of transport. We have been made aware that students desperate to get to and from varsity for early and late lectures are risking walking along the deserted stretch between Pinelands and Mowbray. We certainly don't need another student tragedy and especially not one of our own.

These requests were all refused on an equity issue due to the fact that other areas have also requested the Jammie. We were told the shuttle in Sunrise is a temporary chartered shuttle, brought in especially for the students who live there. We then contacted Robin Carlisle about our transport problems and councilor Brian Watkins who is also dealing with the Jammie shuttle. We will continue to negotiate this problem until we feel that a suitable solution has been put in place.

Alderman Brian Watkyns pointed out that a Jammie Shuttle from Pinelands Station to UCT would greatly reduce the congestion in UCT car parks if students from Pinelands and Thornton could use a shuttle service. UCT had suggested that Pinelands organise its own transport system. The residents and ratepayers present gave the committee the mandate to look into the feasibility.

There will be a public meeting on Wed 17 March at which a number of issues, including transport will be discussed.
The venue is St Stephens Church Hall,
Central Square, Pinelands.
Time: 19h00 for 19h30.

PRRA Reportback

December 2009

It is salutary to be reminded that Pinelanders’ complaints are often minor compared to what others have to endure. At a recent meeting of the Pinelands Exco with the committee of the Kensington and Factreton Ratepayers’ Association, they listed some of their problems in one of the oldest communities in the Western Cape, for example, drug dealers operating with impunity, a high school with totally inadequate toilet facilities, an informal settlement in the graveyard with gravestones being vandalised and destroyed, rundown sports facilities and a lack of information and consultation, so unwanted and unsightly buildings are put up without any prior notice.

Alderman Brian Watkyns was able to advise them on how to influence what goes on in their community. In view of some of the grossly unfair criticism he has received recently, these visitors were most impressed by how well-informed and helpful he was, and how hard he works in all parts of his constituency.

At the same meeting, Gerry Adlard, Development Consultant of Cape Town, gave some sobering facts and statistics about informal housing which is where much of Cape Town will be living for the foreseeable future. Because of the housing backlog, migration and rapid urbanisation, it is impossible to build enough low-cost housing. The major problem is lack of suitable land which is why so many informal settlements are in unsuitable environments such as flood plains, electric or pipe line servitudes, road reserves - or graveyards.

Only the West Coast has spare land - at R1,000,000.00 per hectare! In addition to land for housing, there is also a need for sewage, clinics, schools and job opportunities. For every R3 spent on infrastructure or services, an additional R2 has to be spent because of vandalism. Gerry Adlard will be the invited speaker at the first General Meeting of the Pinelands Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association to be held at the Town Hall on Wednesday 17 February at 7.30 p.m.

The secret to a well-run suburb is an active and involved community. The Pinelands Association is there to serve the community and deal with problems and complaints. It does its best to stop our Garden Suburb from deteriorating any further.

For those celebrating Christmas, a very Merry Christmas.
May the festive season bring peace and happiness to everyone.
And a Happy New Year to all.

To see an archive of articles from 2009
Click Here