New mowing tender talks

While the City of Cape Town is locked in a legal battle, weeds continues to grow and certain areas look poorly maintained.

A legal battle between the City of Cape Town and a privately-owned company is currently under way, with talks at a “very sensitive stage”, as the discussion around a new tender for the mowing of public open spaces, road reserves and cemeteries is on the cards.

The process has been delayed and certain areas have not been maintained, with the City using their own resources and staff to address areas that require urgent attention.

Salt River resident Fazlen Jacobs said there were plenty of areas, owned by the City, that required attention and after she lodged complaints regarding overgrown weeds at the local recreational park, the reason for the delay was explained to her.

“I received feedback that the City was currently in some kind of dispute with a company, but the fact of the matter is, that is there problem and we cannot be expected to just sit and accept what is happening,” shesaid.

“I bet people living in the more affluent areas have also complained and their complaints were immediately addressed by the City.”

Pointing at the land neighbouring the Woodstock Recreational Park, Woodstock resident Hudson Manuel said it was the responsibility of the City to ensure the land remained cleaned.

He too had lodged a complaint with council and was told that the matter was currently being addressed and would soon be resolved.

“The City is always looking for excuses not to do its job.

“ At the end of the day, they have to service our community and cannot blame the fact that they are currently in a legal battle with a company. They must then find somebody else to do the job in the meantime and not wait for the outcome of this legal encounter, because the area just becomes worse,” Mr Manuel said.

Every three years, the City Parks Department appoints new contractors to mow and maintain road verges and public open spaces throughout the city. These mowing contracts ended in June 2015 already and City Parks was granted extensions by the city manager to continue with the existing tender until the company completed the new tender process.

Anda Ntsodo, the City’s mayco member for community services and special projects, said the department has not been able to appoint new contractors to take up the mowing service due to an appeal being lodged by one of the companies.

“The City’s legal department is assessing the validity of this appeal and it is only once this matter is resolved, that new contractors can be appointed to service the whole city,” Mr Ntsodo said.

City Parks met with the attorney on Monday September 19, aware that there were a number of queries and complaints being received from the public in respective wards because in many areas, road verges and parks were becoming increasingly overgrown.

Mr Ntsodo said in the interim, alternate arrangements had been made to enable the City to appoint smaller contractors on a short-term basis and using its own staff and resources to mow areas, which had become badly overgrown.