Proposed development of the area beyond the Stock Theft Unit & Botha Street
An Environmental Impact Assessment is under way for the areas either side of Botha St, between the furthermost house within Kestell up to and beyond the Stock Theft Unit. I discovered this accidentally when the archaeology (et al.) assessor came to visit because Mosankie Mosia who works at De Denne opposite the Stock Theft Unit suggested she come and speak to us.
The assessor was surprised to find a house, and a historically significant one at that, practically at the core of the proposed development, apparently the Municipality neglected to inform the prospective developer (Mashalaba and Assoc., from Bloemfontein) of the presence of any artefact in the marked area. The assessor will be staying here this evening, anything that has not yet been revealed will probably be disclosed once her phone is recharged and she gets access to the Internet.
What is missing from this picture is the public participation that by law ought to have been granted to affected members of the community.
Apparently the process is two-thirds complete and twice already there ought to have been public consultation. As usual, our Ward councillor and his Municipality seem to have gambled on the renowned apathy of the Kestell and Tlholong communities to promote his personal and / or political objectives without democratic interference. Without a doubt there will be claims that all mandatory notices and publications were issued and that no one from the community paid any attention to them.
It seems we have been granted a lucky reprieve and I propose that we grab the opportunity to turn this to the community's advantage. The assessor is convinced that the developer has never been involved in underhanded procedures such as this - she has worked for the principal for a long time - and feels that any reservations we choose to confront him with will be considered favourably. That suggests that we ought to establish communication channels with the principal and get involved in any decision making in regard to this development that may affect the community.
To this end, I would very much appreciate the nomination of a small panel of representative and knowledgeable persons to follow developments, provide input in the decision making process and keep the community informed. I will participate in this panel (unless there are objections, naturally) and I know there are others that would prefer not to miss this opportunity.
Comments to Co-ordination Committee