Our real estate just got real!
The way that you do it
This week’s social media campaign and petition calling for the withholding of rates and the Section 139(1)(c) dissolution of the Makana Council comes at a time when the call for social mobilisation across the country is getting louder. At the recent debate, hosted by Grocott’s Mail and our partner organisations, the topic was ‘Should residents withhold rates?’ It was there that a group of residents made a strong call for the diversion of rates to “a credible and transparent NGO”.
It’s the same call that has been made this week in a petition that by Wednesday was approaching 4000 signatures, with the video post being shared almost 1300 times, giving the campaign a large reach, in social media (and actual) terms.
Not everyone who is gatvol with the state of affairs in Makana Municipality, the city of Makhanda (Grahamstown) in particular, supports the call. Valid concerns have included likely mounting debt for residents who withhold rates; concern that the governance structure and decision making processes of the organisation most often named aren’t publicly accessible; and the precedent set in similar cases, where the court judged that if a government entity was failing in its statutory duties, it was the role of the courts, not private citizens, to bring it to order. One judgment cautioned against “anarchy”.
But the cork is off and civil society has made it clear that genie’s not going back into the bottle.
As the social media wizkids integral to the petition campaign said, ‘5000 signatures would probably put us in front of the Mayor. We need 10 000 to put us in front of the Premier. ‘This campaign seems to have lit a fire.’ In her lecture at the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust annual lecture at Rhodes University this week, Makhosi Khoza called for the revival of the spirit of the mass democratic movement. She called on government to stop seeing civil society as the enemy, but as an integral part of democracy.
At the Neil Aggett Memorial lecture at Kingswood College last week, Adam Habib spoke of the extraordinary power of mass action – citing the 10 days that the students of the Fees Must Fall movement took to achieve what vice chancellors had tried to negotiate over 10 years.
Habib also cautioned against the idea that any means is legitimate if it reaches your target.
“How you conduct your social action determines the outcome,” he said.
To make the name change to Makhanda effective and visible will involve administrative and financial input. Whether our municipality can muster this among everything else it’s trying to deal with, seems unlikely.
We think that some residents with Scottish origins might feel completely at home in a town that starts with what sounds like the clan prefix of Mac. We have been in our Park Road house since the mid 1980s and less have planted lots of trees including several yellowwoods. All yesterday we heard the birds performing and we thought it must be a boomslang which we have had in the trees in our garden.
At dusk, led by our semi-tame drongos, backed by the robins, a major calamity was announced and when the doves flew off I saw a long, feline tail sweep over the summerhouse and into the Brazilian pepper.
Jim rushed to get the camera, I retrieved the game spotlight – it was a small spotted genet that wasn’t rushing anywhere... It took its time and probably raided the doves’ nests but we couldn’t be sure.
Then it settled in the yellowwood (we planted it in the late 1980s and it is now a substantial tree) and checked out the view unperturbed by the spotlight, giving Jim plenty of time to take a good picture. The genet then continued hunting, threading its way through the branches and away – we could follow its path with the help of the Drongo escort party’s noise which seemed to go towards the veggie patch!
We told our neighbours who had never seen a genet in their gardens either. So our forest and that of our neighbours is working for wildlife. But the birds are surely not happy with this new addition to our wildlife along Park Road!
Eve and Jim Cambray
Photo: Jim Cambray
Eve and Jim Cambray consider themselves fortunate to have a spotted genet in their Park Road garden.