At last: an app that reports by-law breakers

If you want to report a by-law infringement – such as party noise, building noise, events companies operating without an events permit, businesses operating without a business license, and so on – here’s what to do – and what not to do:

  • Telephone the central call centre on 021 480 7700, stating clearly that you are calling from Marina da Gama – not Muizenberg. This is a central call centre. It is run jointly by the City of Cape Town and Law Enforcement and it is separate from the main City of Cape Town call centre.
  • Specifying Marina da Gama will ensure your complaint is forwarded to the correct Law Enforcement office. In our case, the correct office is located below the overhead walkway at the mouth of Zandvlei in Muizenberg.
  • State your complaint clearly, ask for a reference number and keep it in a safe place.
  • Law Enforcement has assured us that we can expect a timely response. However, if you do not receive a satisfactory response, forward your complaint and reference number to the Marina da Gama Association office on 021 788 3311 and we will pursue the matter on your behalf.
  • Do not call SAPS to report a by-law infringement. As a rule, SAPS deals exclusively with crime; Metro Police deals 50/50 with crime and by-law infringements; Law Enforcement spends 80% of its time on by-law infringements and 20% of its time on crime.

What the law says about noise
The relevant Act governing the by-law legislation on noise is the Provincial Gazette Western Cape Control Regulation Act of 2013, Section 25. According to these regulations, there is no longer a time restriction on noise, excluding on-site construction. The restriction used to apply up to 23h00 in the evening. Now, however, there is a restriction on noise at any time of the day or night. The regulations state that ‘a person may not make a disturbing noise or allow a disturbing noise to be caused.’ In other words: at no time during the day or night may a disturbing noise be made for longer than 10 minutes at a level of 7Dba or above.

On-site construction work can only be carried out between the hours of 08h00 and 17h00 Monday to Friday and 08h00 to 13h00 on Saturday. No work is allowed on Sunday. The first fine for breaking this regulation is R1 000, the second fine is R2 000, and the third offence is automatically a court offence.

Minutes and portfolio reports (January 2022)

Minutes of EXCOM – MARINA DA GAMA ASSOCIATION held on 11th January 2022 at the Offices of the MDGA at 18h00  

Welcome to all with no apologies. Present – Patrick Mc Kenna, Paul Higgins, Richard Midgley, Nick Bode, Graham Barratt, Peter Allen, Ulf Martz, Dominique Erasmus, Tharwah Davids

Unanimous Approval of Minutes of 14th December 2021

3 Portfolio reports
3.1 Treasurer
Bank Balances
3.2 Communications
3.3 Waterways
3.4 Events
3.5 Archcom
3.6 Standards
3.7 Infrastructure
3.8 Parks and Gardens
3.9 Security
3.10 General

      4)   Matters Arising

            A)   Debate on Policy for Distressed Members – ongoing and proposals to be redrafted

            B)   Subscription increase 2022 10% – R70 to R770 – unanimously approved

            C)   Appoint Tharwah Davids as added signatory on Debt Collecting Summons’s – unanimously approved

            D)   Salary Increase Robbie and Marcia unanimously approved according to inflation and performance

            E)   Traffic Calming measures – Exco voted unanimously for UM/DE to continue engagement with City on calming measures – Battleridge, Shearwater and Eastlake Drive

            F)   Vrygrond Housing Development – MDGA submitted objections and suggestions to consultants – await response

            G)   MDGA interactions with CoCT regarding Kingfisher, Sewerage leaks. Many residents have been inundating the Office with suggestions as to what should happen. – We are very well represented on ZPAAC – and ZPAAC are busy compiling a detailed and comprehensive Legal Directive against the CoCT – regarding all matters of Waterways – sewerage spills, human errors and unacceptable maintenance of Pump Stations. We believe this is the correct forum to air our grievances and to demand City action. As a  CoCT Statutory Body, with multi-party representation, credible professionals with sound technical abilities, reformatted into a lively working body – now meeting Monthly – this body includes the CoCT as well as all surround residential bodies and carries far more      weight than an individual body like the MDGA.

            H)   DE has complete set of event permits – and after studying – will be shared so we are well prepared with correct documentation for the events planned in 2022.

            I)    GB – Standards have cleaned up a lot of longstanding incidents – cars standing on streets, painting and repairs over December NB suggested a checklist for incidences – date reported action withing 48 hours etc.

5)   Date of next meeting – 8th February 2022 at 18h00 at MDGA Offices

PORTFOLIO REPORTS

WATERWAYS – NICK BODE

This has been a trying time for all Marina Da Gama residence!! When one should be outside enjoying the holidays, enjoying the waterways, enjoying the summer sun, we were forced to stay indoors and off the water. 

This was due to the unpleasant sight of the copious amounts of algae that had built up due to the high nutrition content caused by all of the sewage spills, that the Vlei has experienced, over the last six months. In these trying times a few residents joined hands and tested out new ways in clearing the algae with the help of Kyran and his team from Zandvlei nature reserve. We had to do this as the Kingfisher was not allowed to be used because of red tape from SAMSA. 

With the algae accumulating daily, a biological disaster had to be saved. Zandvlei Nature Reserve pushed hard against SAMSA again and again explaining how important it was to get the Kingfisher back out onto the water and as soon as possible. Zandvlei nature reserve applied for an exemption and at the last minute an exemption was granted under new rules and requirements. This fantastic news means the Kingfisher has been seen out and about clearing the waterways yet again. 

They are clearing out all of the worst affected areas first and once those areas are relatively clean, they will start working from the south and making their way north as the prevailing wind will keep pushing the floating algae to the northern shores. Residents are still encouraged to keep clearing their 2 m.

A massive thank you to Kyran and his team for working over the holidays with the Marina Da Gama Association and other volunteers at manually removing the algae with nets, rakes and even their hands! 

The Vlei / waterways remain closed and I’m sure after the first ZPAAC meeting of the year we will get the latest E.coli which we will share with you ASAP

COMMUNICATIONS – PATRICK McKENNA

The Communications team had a busy festive season keeping residents updated with various events online and through our email newsletter. Our Facebook group is becoming a well-used platform among members expressing concerns about the algae situation; as such, it demands constant monitoring.  

Throughout 2022, we will continue to create and publish content for all our communication channels: the website, blog, email newsletter and Facebook.

Meanwhile, we are in the process of finalising the design and artwork for printing the residents’ welcome booklet.

INFRASTRUCTURE – ULF MARTZ

  • Overview

Activities during December 2021 involved submission of comments to the Environmental consultant involved with the Vrygrond Housing Development.

  • Asset Management

CoCT Procurement of new weed harvester – See Waterways Report.

Still awaiting asset register in terms of municipal services from the CoCT.

  • Roads and Stormwater

Various correspondence addressed to the CoCT relating to the Marina da Gama Road conditions and status of the M3-M5 link were sent to City officials.

  • Infrastructural Development

Zandvlei Expressway/Parkway (M3-M5) link road, refer to the CoCT Southern District Develop Plan:

Attendance to City’s Draft IDP 2022 scheduled on 12 January 2022.

Vrygrond Housing Development – comments submitted.

  • Bridges

The BMS city asset register for MdG will need to be obtained.  

  • Water and Sanitation

The recent malfunctioning of sewer pump stations has contributed to spillage in the Zandvlei waterways as reported at the ZPAAC meeting held recently. This has contributed to the increased algae growth – refer to Waterways Report.

  • Electricity Supply

Load shedding by ESKOM continues to have an impact on the CoCT sewer pump stations’ operations.

Road accident in Uitsig, resulting in a resident’s wall being damaged has been recorded. Introduction of Traffic calming measures to be applied for with the City of Cape Town.  

  • Pedestrian Flows

The high pedestrian flow on Eastlake Drive using the roadway is considered hazardous for motorists. Consideration to provide appropriate sidewalks should be addressed with the CoCT.  A formal submission will be prepared.

STANDARDS – GRAHAM BARRATT

There will be no report for Standards for above meeting.

What little happened in Dec. up to closure of MDG office will be included in the Jan. Report for    8th Feb. Exco meeting.

SECURITY – PETER ALLEN

       Triggers received – 46
       Vehicles involved – 16

       Alleged Crime Types:

  • Burglary residential
  • Drug Dealing
  • Poaching
  • Gang Affiliation
  • Robbery Armed
  • Robbery Business
  • Robbery Common
  • Robbery residential
  • Suspicious MV

       Outcome:

  • 25 Triggers; the vehicle was out of the area before SSP’s arrived
  • 19 Triggers; the vehicle was followed out of the area by SSP’s
  • 1 Triggers; the vehicle was involved in an accident
  • 1 Trigger; the vehicle left on a Flatbed Tow Truck
UitsigCoot DrATT HB20.12.21During the past five daysNoClient saw this morning that someone tried to force open the sliding door. She was last at the sliding door five days ago.
Park IslandPark Island WayTheft15.12.21Between 20h00 and 21h00Yes MuizenbergWallet stolen from desk

EVENTS – DOMINIQUE ERASMUS

Both the kids party and the bridge fair carols were a great success in December 2021. Feedback      from residents have been mostly good. R2490 was raised for the park, we need to decide where that will be spent please. 

I have applied for necessary forms from COCT for stage and food truck permits, so that they will be in place before our next large event.

We welcome thoughts on doing a “Marina Ultimate Braai Master event” in March? Perhaps at the Camp grounds or permitted braai area in Marina.

PARKS AND MAINTENANCE

Gardeners on leave until 10th January – whereby we expect another year of advancement with    Gardens and the Beautification of our Public Open Spaces. We expect the year to bring boreholes, and spray systems to irrigate some open spaces, starting in Uitsig and moving south.

TREASURER, COMPLIANCE AND LEGAL – THARWAH DAVIDS

Bank Balances:
Current account
Archcom
Money Market
Total


R19 401
R317 648
R613 708
R950 757

ZPAAC points the way out of the vlei crisis

Nick Bode, who heads up the MDGA ExCom’s Waterways portfolio, reviews recent developments on Zandvlei and looks at how we move towards a sustainable, long-term answer to the current problems.

We’re under no illusions that that this has been a trying few months for all Marina da Gama residents. During a time when we should all be outside enjoying the holidays, enjoying the summer sun, enjoying the waterways, we have been forced to stay away from the canals and off the vlei. 

The reason: an explosive build-up of algae fed by the water’s unusually high nutrition content caused, in turn, by a series of sewage spills over the last six months. All that plus a broken-down Kingfisher and persistently high e. coli levels.

As I will explain, the MDGA is simply not in a position to tackle the root causes of this ongoing crisis on its own. More of that later. For now, a huge thanks to the people who took steps to tackle the symptoms over the holidays. Among others, they include resident volunteers and members of the MDGA ExCom, who joined forces with Kyran Wright and his team from the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve (ZENR) to trial new ways of clearing algae while the Kingfisher was out of action again. This time, the problem was not down to mechanical failure. Instead, the South African Marine Safety Authority (SAMSA) stepped in to immobilise the Kingfisher in a tangle of red tape.

Undaunted, Kyran and his algae busters used a net drawn by a motor-powered dinghy combined with rakes, bare hands and raw elbow grease to produce some dramatic results in some of the worst affected canals – as the photos have proved. Inevitably, however, the faster they worked, the faster the algae grew back.

With an environmental disaster looming, the MDGA ExCom threw its support behind ZENR as it pushed back hard against SAMSA with demands for an exemption to the Kingfisher’s red tape requirements. Under new rules, the exemption was granted just in time. As a result, the Kingfisher has once again been out on the waterways over the last couple of weeks – and long may it last.

But even this part of the story was not without its dramas. Just before he was due to return to work, the City of Cape Town (CoCT)’s Kingfisher skipper was forced to isolate after several of his family members caught COVID-19. Once again, Kyran Wright came to the rescue. Swapping his estuary manager’s sun hat for his Kingfisher skipper’s cap, he spent the next few days working flat out over the holiday period to clear the build-up.

Thankfully, the CoCT’s Kingfisher crew is now back at work and focusing on the worst affected areas. Once they are relatively algae-free, the weed eater will start working from the south of the vlei and make its way north as the prevailing wind keeps pushing the floating algae to the northern shores.

So much for tackling the symptoms. The waterways remain shut, the sewerage spills persist, the algae is rampant. How are we going to eliminate the causes of the current – seemingly endless – crisis?

There was recent talk on Facebook about following the example of residents living around the Woodbridge Lagoon in Milnerton by launching a legal fight against the CoCT. This approach is just one option and it is not the one we prefer. For s start, the MDGA is prohibited under its constitution from spending more than R100 000 (adjusted by annual inflation) on any single action or item without members’ approval. At today’s rates, that sum would hardly cover the cost of buying tea-break biscuits for the duration of any hearing.

In our opinion, the best strategy involves maintaining close links with CoCT decision makers. As we report elsewhere in this week’s newsletter, a delegation of these City employees visited the Marina this week. They included Cllr Zahid Badroodien, the newly elected Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation as well as the heads of Reticulation, Pump Stations and Cape Nature.

In parallel, we are throwing our support behind the Zandvlei Protected Areas Advisory Committee (ZPAAC). We believe ZPAAC is the correct forum in which to air our grievances and lobby for CoCT action. It is a CoCT statutory body with multi-party representation and credible professionals who have proven technical abilities.

Along with a number of other Marina-based groups, we are very strongly represented on ZPAAC, which is busy compiling a detailed and comprehensive legal directive against the CoCT, Milnerton-style. The draft directive covers every possible cause of our current crisis – from human errors and defective telemetry systems to sewerage spills and faulty pump station maintenance.

ZPAAC has recently been reconfigured into a dynamic working body that now holds monthly meetings bringing together all residents’ groups surrounding Zandvlei. As such, it has far more clout than an individual body like the MDGA.

The next ZPAAC meeting is scheduled for this week. I look forward bringing you a full report on the proceedings and action points as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, here’s hoping for some good news on the E. coli levels in the near future!

Quarterly review from the MDGA chairman

As the first quarter of the year comes to a close, the heavy rains we experienced earlier this month are a reminder that another change of season is also upon us. It has been a busy and intense three months since my last message after 2021 more or less picked up where 2020 left off. Despite the challenges, however, we’re also seeing a number of positive developments – starting with improvements to the way we communicate with our members.

Communications

After consulting with residents and holding lengthy internal discussions, the Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee (MDGA ExCom) voted to replace our quarterly printed magazine, Marina da Gama News, with a blog linked to our website, Facebook page, and weekly email newsletter.

We are sensitive to the fact that many Marina residents enjoyed reading our magazine. In the digital age, however, it no longer performed effectively as our main channel of communication. Rather than receiving news and updates every three months, people now want to know about developments in the Marina on a weekly and daily basis, even hourly when security issues are involved.

Consequently, our quarterly magazine became a luxury we could no longer justify. Instead, we believe our funds are better spent on publishing a regular flow of timely, relevant, and informative content through our online channels – including our new blog.

We are equally sensitive to the fact that not everyone has access to email or the internet. So, if you are concerned that you or anyone you know may be deprived of important information, please let us know and we will do whatever we can to fill the communication gap.

Meanwhile, a huge thanks to our magazine designer, Kim Horne, whose skill, talent, and hard work over so many years ensured Marina da Gama News always looked like a quality publication.

Waterways

Talking of communication, ExCom members have had their hands and inboxes full dealing with residents’ complaints about our broken down Kingfisher and rising levels of floating algae on our waterways. We hear you loud and clear! In response, we have been working intensively behind the scenes to try and get the old weed eater repaired and establish exactly when work will start on building its replacement. Our efforts have included extensive correspondence with the City of Cape Town and a face-to-face meeting with Aimee Kuhl, our Ward Councillor.

Once we have their answers to our persistent questions, we will share them with you immediately. At present, however, we have nothing to report except that we have nothing of substance to report. For now, we will continue to cover the cost of deploying teams to remove the algae by hand.

Finance & Controls

We are pleased to advise members that just 10 days after the end of the last financial year, we were in a positon to publish our unaudited financials along with a preliminary budget for the 2021-22 financial year.

Thanks to our improved controls, timely reporting and accurate budgeting, we are able to react speedily to members’ concerns while still producing a surplus that we hold in reserve to cover future outgoings. In addition, residents can now access and comment on monthly updates showing how we are spending their levies.

To protect the MDGA and our staff, we have taken steps to make our office in the Eastlake Shopping Centre cashless by introducing a credit card machine. This will also help to further strengthen our levy collection efforts. We are appealing to everyone who can afford to pay their R700 levy to pay it by the end of this month. If, however, you are not in a position to pay for any reason, such as the pandemic, please contact us and we will do whatever we can to assist. We will continue to pursue non-payers and charge all debt collection costs to their account.

Security

Our Security portfolio holder reports a number of significant development in his regular round-up, which you can read in full here. Among other developments, we have held extensive meetings with security reps in each of our precincts tabulated their specific responses and requirements, and shared mutually beneficial information between them.

In addition, ExCom voted to change our LPR camera service provider from iTrack to Navic following the conclusion of our study into the Marina’s Licence License Plate Recognition (LPR) infrastructure. Deep Blue will continue to provide our armed response back-up while monitoring and maintaining our network of our cameras. We will also continue to focus on securing the Marina’s perimeter.

Standards

ExCom welcomed our new Standards portfolio holder, John Lubbe, to his first Ex EXCom meeting on 9 March. We are already feeling the benefits of his steadying influence and he has some great and inclusive ideas to share.

We continue to follow up on standards-related complaints and we are pleased to see that, despite the severe financial costs of the pandemic, an encouraging number of residents have been busy repairing, painting, and upgrading their properties. Good work!

As we reported earlier, we also finished painting the Prince George Drive wall in just over 10 days and well within the R200,000 budget we set in 2019. Again: good work!

Parks & Open Spaces

At the start of the new financial year, our Parks & Gardens portfolio launched a new working model comprising one active representative from each of the Marina’s three islands working with a team of six gardeners. To make our gardeners easy to recognise, we will shortly be issuing them with overalls carrying the MDGA logo. We are confident that the new model will produce successful results for our residents while benefiting our gardeners with stable employment and a regular wage.

Events

Thanks to everyone who helped to make our first-ever quiz and dinner night at the Marina Pub & Bistro in Eastlake Shopping Centre such a success. A respectable total of 15 teams took part in the event. Through ticket sales and donations, we managed to raise R860 towards the South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind.

Jamie and her team will be hosting our next quiz night and dinner night on Monday 29 March, starting at 7.00pm. Save the date!

M3-M5 road link

We are currently seeing a growing number of young families moving into the area to share our wonderful environment. And regardless of age or circumstances, the ExCom is determined to preserve the Marina’s status as one of Cape Town’s safest and most beautiful residential suburbs for the benefit of everyone who lives here.

With this in mind, we have engaged with the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee to re-activate the stalled development of the M5-M3 road link. This will be a long process. But with time, effort and perseverance, it is achievable.

It will be the single biggest development in our area and will have massive – and positive – implications for property prices and security in the Marina and the surrounding neighbourhoods that are forced to deal with the early morning and evening traffic jams through Muizenberg. 

Thank you!

I am continually amazed and gratified by the long hours that my ExCom colleagues devote to making the Marina such a wonderful place for us all to live in. I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Your reward is to live in a better place today than yesterday because of their efforts.

Reinforcing safety through partnerships

Meeting security reps

Since the start of the year, Peter Allen, who holds the Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee (ExCom)’s Security portfolio, has chaired a number of productive meetings with security reps across several Marina precincts. He is currently scheduling a meeting with security reps in Uitsig as well as the Uitsig Neighbourhood Watch. After that, Peter will begin his next round of meetings, starting again with the security reps in Battleridge before making his way back to UItsig.

Meeting SAPS

Members of the ExCom recently met the Muizenberg Police Station Commander, Colonel Naidoo, and his Deputy Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Roussow. Their insights and input gave us a better understanding of the challenges that SAPS currently has to deal with. Among others, they include vehicle shortages; manpower issues, with office staff working split shifts during the pandemic; and the station’s deteriorating condition.

Unfortunately, plans to build a new police station at Vrygrond are nowhere close to approval or even finalisation thanks to the tangle of red tape between SAPS and the Department of Public Works. Despite these problems, it is clear that members of Muizenberg SAPS – from the top down – are committed to giving their best to prevent and investigate crime in our area.

Looking ahead, ExCom members will continue to meet the Station Commander every four to six weeks, depending on schedules, to understand how we can best help each other keep Marina residents safe and secure.  

Crime stats low (but could be lower)

On a positive note, the CCTV camera initiatives across the Marina are proving highly effective. Our crime levels remain extremely low except in Uitsig, where six crimes were recorded during February.