As concerns over increase in crime and grime in Berea grow, Sithole to give answers

2014-04-22 00:00

BEREA residents are expected to ask the city for more resources to clean up the inner-city suburban belt when they meet city manager Sbu Sithole tonight.

At least 400 people are expected to attend the community meeting on the Berea, organised by the Save our Berea (SOB) campaign, as concerns over the increase in crime and grime grow.

Community groups from Glenmore to Sydenham, and from Musgrave and Morningside are expected to attend. Sithole is expected to address the residents’ concerns over the increase in drugs, prostitution, vagrancy, litter, and serious and petty crime in their areas.

Save our Berea convener Cheryl Johnson said they had previously given Sithole a memorandum of five initiatives they believe will help rejuvenate the Berea and its neighbouring suburbs. Sithole is expected to give feeback.

“It was Sithole’s idea to come and address the Berea community, for which we are thankful. We will make sure he is given the time and respect required. Our mission has never been to be confrontational with the city administration, but to work with them. We have, through consultation with residents, drawn up a list of priorities that we believe could return the Berea into a great place to live,” said Johnson.

The meeting will be chaired by Kevin Dunkley, a former Natal Rugby Union president and chairperson of the Natal Sharks (Pty) Ltd, and member of SOB.

Guy Perrins, chairperson of the Glenwood Community Watch, said they wanted from the council the means to properly address the problems posed by prostitution, the drug trade and vagrants.

“The city has effectively cleaned up the CBD, but the homeless and whoonga users have now moved into the suburban areas bordering on the city.”

He said at least 200 people sleep on the streets of lower Umbilo, excluding the parks, on any given night and that the increase in the drug trade has led to a spike in petty crime.

“If anything positive has come out of all of this crime and grime, it is that the community of Glenwood has become tighter and a sense of community has been created,” said Perrins.

The meeting will be held at St Thomas’s Anglican Church Hall in Musgrave Road at 6.30 pm for 7 pm.

Save Our Berea’s five objectives which city manager Sbu Sithole is expected to give feedback on:

1. A structure comprising Land Use Management, Enforcement, Health, Traffic and various other municipal departments to work with SOB;

2. The extension of the Urban Priority Zone programme which, stations security guards, dressed in green uniforms and primarily found in the CBD, to Glenwood, Berea and Sydenham;

3. Reinstating the Elevation Control Committee;

4. Assurances from the city manager that greater initiatives have been put in place to curb the possibility of corruption, fraud and bribery;

5. Create a better space for whistle-blowers.

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