Democratic Alliance (DA) Ward 50 Councillor Lyndal Singh has refuted allegations that were made in a letter sent to The Phoenix Tabloid by Minority Front (MF) Public Relations Councillor Jonathan Annipen regarding the playlot in Lancegrove, Grove End. According to Annipen, “The DA has once again jumped onto the bandwagon claiming fame, for work it has no stake in”.
This follows an article that was published in The Phoenix Tabloid on 8 May, “Proposed housing development on play lot angers residents”.
Annipen claimed that he, and not Singh, was responsible for assisting the Lancegrove action committee, which was created to deal with concerns related to a proposed housing development project on the playlot.However, Singh reaffirmed, “The community will not be fooled by the tactics of the Minority Front who is always silent in council and wakes up at dawn of an election. Just to let Cllr Annipen know that before I had commented on the article, I had already submitted evidence to the media. I am currently addressing this issue with the city manager, while Cllr Annipen is still dealing with officials.”
In his letter, Annipen said, “My colleague, Councillor Lyndal Singh, seems to believe that this work can be done via remote control because she has never attended any of the meetings or programmes hosted by the Lancegrove action committee. I know this because I have attended almost all meetings since I was requested to assist this forum. It was the Minority Front that wrote to the chairperson of the Community Services Committee Chair, Councillor ZamaZulu Shokobase, to the head of Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries and to the chairperson of the Standing Committee for Human Settlements and housing, Councillor Mondli Mthembu, to get answers on this matter. Perhaps Councillor Lyndal Singh has written to officials regarding this issue but no such information has been seen by the Action Committee or myself. The community must not be misled by political theatrics that appear on the eve of an election and disappear once the votes have been garnered. I can gladly show proof of my work and contributions toward this project, I invite any other party who makes such claims to do the same.”
The Phoenix Tabloid tabled Annipens allegations to Singh, and she responded. “The claims made by Cllr Annipen are baseless and have no merit. He had stated that he wrote to the chairperson of the portfolio committee, if so, what action had been taken from his written correspondence?
How can he claim that I, as the elected Ward Cllr, has done nothing when he has never raised the issue of playlots at council meetings. He has always voted in favour of these items that impact negatively on our community. It is the very same Minority Front that voted for only 1% of houses to be allocated to Indians.
“The DA is the only party that has fought the developers in Phoenix. We have always placed questions and raised these issues in council meetings. We have placed notice of motions against housing developers and the Minority Front voted against our motions.
“It’s good to say in the media that he is fighting for the community but when it matters in council he does the total opposite by putting his tail in between his legs and voting against the items that will benefit our community. The DA is the only party that has had meetings with officials from housing, Mrs Zama Nene, and Parks to discuss playlots been taken away and allocated to housing under the SR180 special residential.”
She added, “This issues is not just two months old and regarding one playlot, like he has made claim to, this issue is pertaining to all playlots in Phoenix. If anyone has jumped on the bandwagon its definitely Cllr Annipen. I really don’t have time for Cllr Annipen’s pettiness. Cllr Annipen, your fight is against me but let me reassure you that my fight is for the community.”
EThekwini Municipality’s deputy head of communications, Mandla Nsele, said, “As with other parcels of under-utilised land in Phoenix allocated to developers for the purpose of developing housing for the gap market (households with monthly incomes in the region of R3500 to R15000 per month), there were extensive public meetings held since the initiation of the project in the early 2000s.
There were also a series of community consultations held in Phoenix, Chatsworth and Newlands. Thousands of people from these areas came to register for these housing opportunities.
The project is not only for the benefit of Phoenix, Chatsworth and Newlands residents, but for all communities in eThekwini. The developer will set aside a portion of this parcel for public open space.
The issue of rental charged is currently being scrutinised by the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC), and therefore we cannot comment at this time.”