Fairways cries foul

2016-05-24 06:00
Ward councillor Monty Oliver responds to community concerns and complaints at the Trim Park in Fairways on Saturday morning. The Fairways Neighbourhood Watch called the meeting with residents to highlight concerns around crime in the area. On the right a board can be seen with confiscated weapons. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

Ward councillor Monty Oliver responds to community concerns and complaints at the Trim Park in Fairways on Saturday morning. The Fairways Neighbourhood Watch called the meeting with residents to highlight concerns around crime in the area. On the right a board can be seen with confiscated weapons. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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Half a decade of communication and still no results.

This was the plight of the “forgotten” Fairways residents as they met during a public meeting on Saturday.

Residents, the local ward councillor, Monty Oliver, as well as the Fairways Neighbourhood Watch came out to discuss issues around crime, lane closures and solutions.

However the meeting was in vain as, much to the dismay of residents, they feel they were still left with a “generic political response”.

“We have been in meetings before and every time it comes down to the same thing - we are told the matter will be addressed. But this has been going on for five years and we’re still stuck with the same problems,” meeting convenor and chairperson Paul Thomas said.

In a letter announcing Saturday’s meeting, the neighbourhood watch said “a basic service such as safety and security has a direct and immediate impact and effect on the quality of lives of the people in that community.”

“Organisations in the Fairways community such as Fairways Neighbourhood Watch, and previously Fair Alert and FRESCA, work hard to ensure that some of these basic services are provided for in their community. After years of hard work with residents voluntarily giving up their time to serve, it appears that they have been fighting a losing battle, constantly reviewing the same requests which have not been addressed adequately enough even though there is constant communication with their ward councillor,” the letter reads.

At the meeting a huge board was displayed with knives and weapons which was confiscated by the neighbourhood watch.

“For a while the area has been under siege from property theft, armed robberies, drug pedalling, prostitution and hijackings. Residents live in fear and rely on neighbourhood watch patrols and an under resourced SAPS to provide safety and security. The quality of life is seemingly slipping away with parks becoming derelict, houses being turned into drug dens and drug dealing teenagers,” Thomas also said.

“The realities hit home when neighbourhood watch patrols encounter 12 and 13 year olds smoking dagga, or dangerous weapons such as butcher knives, pangas and sharpened tools confiscated during a patrol is a regular occurrence. Cars speeding through the avenues, screeching tyres and residents closing their eyes or shaking their heads praying that one of our children is not in harm’s way have become far to common,” the letter also reads.

At the meeting a plea was made for the revival of a civic association for the Fairways community. “The civic association is defunct and we need this organisation to be revived. All these issues are just too much for the neighbourhood watch to deal with,” Thomas says.

Regarding traffic calming measures in streets with rat run traffic, Oliver’s says “it will be addressed”.
“I have someone noting these concerns and I will review them again when I leave here. However, I encourage residents to write to my office with their concerns,” Oliver said.

This response did not sit well with residents. “We have had enough. We demand our safe parks and walkways, that the 10th Avenue bridge be closed and turned into a community hall for our community, safer streets, drug dens be closed and criminal activities to be addressed,” was the unified, heartfelt community cry.

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