Residents of Makhaza will no longer have to travel to Ilitha Park, in Khayelitsha, to access their revenue services, after the City of Cape Town re-opened the Makhaza customer care centre.
It had been closed for nearly five years due to ongoing violence and unrest in the area.
On Tuesday August 28, Mayoral committee member for area east Anda Ntsodo, and officials from the City gathered in the area to officially re-open the centre.
Services relating to municipal account enquiries, applications for indigent assistance, refuse bins, water allocation increases, water management device installations, rates rebates for pensioners and people with disabilities, reconnection or disconnection of water and updating details of customers will be rendered at the centre.
Mr Ntsodo said because of the violence, customers had been unable to use this municipal office which meant that the resources allocated to it were going to waste.
He said the situation had made it difficult for their staff and customers to conduct their business in a safe and secure manner.
Furthermore, he said, the offices of political parties who were situated in the same building had been torched.
They ultimately had to make the tough decision, based on security and financial considerations, to close down the centre.
“I am therefore overjoyed that we have re-opened this facility to serve the surrounding community.
“This is in line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan which focuses on enhancing services and ensuring that there is equality in our service delivery wherever humanly possible.
“Our Makhaza customers are now able to make account enquiries at this office and apply for indigent assistance and refuse bins, among others.
“We will be monitoring the foot traffic through this office over the coming months to see whether certain services could be expanded or perhaps whether there is a need for a service that we are not currently offering here,” said Mr Ntsodo.
He explained that at this stage, the office could not accept payments as there was a paypoint situated in the neighbouring complex.
This, however, would be resolved over the coming months.
Water, sanitation, electricity, solid waste and utilities portfolio chairperson, Philiswa Marman, said this was one of government’s attempts to bring services closer to the people.
She said the offices would play a vital role in helping authorities ensure that people pay for their services and would educate them about the use of water and other services.
She said that people had to travel to Khayelitsha to access their revenue services, and this was unacceptable.
Ms Marman said she hoped residents would protect the centre to ensure that it did not close again.
Resident Nondabephi Manyanda said she was tired of travelling to Khayelitsha every time she wanted to inquire about the revenue services.
The 74-year-old said the centre was within walking distance of her home and she was thrilled that the government had responded to their complaints.
However, she said, she hoped that the re-opening of the centre would resolved their challenges.
“This office is important to us as some of us were battling to afford taxis to go to Khayelitsha.
“I feel that a heavy burden has been lifted from my shoulders.
“I hope that this office won’t be closed again.
“ I plead with the residents not destroy it,” she said.
Sub-council 24 manager Lulamile Goodman Rorwana called on the residents to be the protectors of this office and understand that it was meant for them.
He said such services were important to the community.