‘Parks Department is still not getting it right’

2014-02-17 00:00

AFTER Witness Warriors sent Richard Clacey’s complaint to the municipality, he received a response for the first time in six years with regard to clearing open municipal land in Ashby Road, Prestbury.

However, though action was taken in this regard, the results were far from satisfactory. Clacey has since written to the council regarding his frustrations with the municipality’s Parks and Recreation Department and requesting something be done to remedy the situation.

Clacey writes: “Firstly, let me thank you that action was taken on the open municipal land in Ashby Road. I do not doubt the good faith of your response.”

But Clacey was unhappy with the quality of the work done. “You will have the opportunity to acknowledge there is a major problem with the quality of management that currently exists in the Department of Parks and Recreation. This poor workmanship is symptomatic of poor leadership and management.”

Clacey said this department, together with the traffic department, appears every week in a negative light in the letters section and in the municipal section of the newspaper. “This morning, a letter from a resident of Woodlands was complaining about exactly the same problem. Poorly managed verges and open space that now constitute a risk to personal safety and security,” he said.

Clacey said wherever you travel in the city you will encounter the same problem. “The work that has been done preparing Camps Drift for a major national event like the Dusi Marathon, which is a major showcase of our city, is pitiful,” he said.

He said the Dorpspruit River and Community Regeneration project has through its 95 members invested almost R180 000 in the past seven years from voluntary contributions to regenerate the lower Prestbury area and to revitalise the local Dorpspruit River. “We have provided countless hours of voluntary service arranging litter pick-ups and indigenous planting to meet the much-vaunted objectives of the city to be ‘The City of Choice’ and, more recently, ‘The Green City’,” said Clacey.

He said it was, therefore, bitterly disappointing to see highly paid municipal officials, who are meant to serve as the principal custodians of the city and its quality of life, treating residents with such contempt.

“I would strongly recommend that the municipality undertakes a proper diagnostic assessment of the Department of Parks and Recreation and intervenes properly to solve this endemic management problem for once and for all,” said Clacey.

The same problem of overgrown verges was reported along Zwartkop and Taunton roads.

In response, municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said that, as per the city’s maintenance programme, the Ashby Road area would be attended to soon. “The area was programmed to be cut, but unfortunately while our staff member was cutting, the tractor experienced mechanical problems — hence the uneven grass-cutting quality,” he said.

Zuma said, however, this area been reprogrammed and will be completed by Friday.

“Furthermore, it must be noted that the tractor works ahead of the brush-cutter operators and open spaces throughout Msunduzi Municipality are not raked due to limited resources available in relation to the extent to the areas requested to be cut,” he said.

• Sobantu resident Mbulelo Baloyi, complained that the 24-hour KwikSpar in Hayfields off the N3 on New England Road has become an “informal truck stop or truck inn”.

He said one has to negotiate passing space on New England Road between parked juggernauts while their drivers go to buy food in the KwikSpar, thus causing traffic snarl-ups and general inconvenience. “Are there traffic police in Msunduzi Municipality?” he asked.

Zuma said he had referred the matter to the traffic department.

• Meanwhile, Debbie Burt thanked the Witness Warriors for assistance, supported by Vic Winterbach of the DA, and two more phone calls to the electricity department, that resulted in the street lights in Alan Paton Avenue at the entrance to the city shining brightly once again.

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