Pleas to restrict access

2016-04-19 06:00
Residents say the reserve is attracting the wrong crowd into their area and they want a wall that secures the area and provides access control.   PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Residents say the reserve is attracting the wrong crowd into their area and they want a wall that secures the area and provides access control. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Sharedon Park residents in Steenberg are worried about the increase in crime in their area and reckon this can easily be avoided if the road reserves in Ivory Close and Zircon Close are closed off.

Concerned residents say for over five years they have pleaded with authorities to install fencing. Over the years they have watched crime escalate and get out of hand because the opening made it easy for people to access their area.

A couple of years ago the road reserve was covered in reeds and grass, which prevented people from walking there. However, with time, a visible footpath has been formed which has made it easy for the “wrong crowd” to access the community.

There have been a number of muggings and even a murder has taken place. It is alleged there was a rape last week.

Now residents say something has to be done as a matter of urgency and are calling for a brick wall that will stop people from coming into their area.

Sharedon Neighbourhood Watch says the community has to stand up and demand the fencing, as they are concerned winter will bring an increase in crime.

“Cars and houses have been broken into. As the neighbourhood watch we want the area closed off. Criminals take advantage because of the reeds. When they rob and run in there you will never see them again. We have had enough,” says Eric Bailey from Sharedon Park Neighbourhood Watch. “We have been saying for a long time we wanted this area closed as it will be easy to control crime from within. Those who are caught in our area will have nowhere to run to.”

A resident, who only identified herself as Belle, says the situation is out of hand.

“My house is the very last one and its easy for a criminal to just attack us. We don’t feel safe. If we could have a strong wall it will be much better. People are robbed here all the time and last week someone was raped. This spot is just not safe. It has made it easy for people to access our area and crime is out of hand. The neighbourhood watch is trying but because of the reserve its really difficult for them,” she says.

Bailey added when people walk in the open space, they have to walk in numbers making them feel safe, but they are discouraging community members to use it.

“Not even the police can patrol there. People must walk on the main road. Though it’s quick and easy to access many places through this hotspot, you’re making yourself an easy target. We are pleading with people to make it easy for us by not walking here.”

Ward councillor Marita Petersen says it’s a safety risk and it will be closed.

“I have always supported the closure, but the problem was that no-one wanted to take ownership of the piece of land, whether it’s City Parks or Transport for Cape Town. That will be sorted out soon and the moment we have a clear indication of who owns that piece of land, work will begin. There are too many people accessing this area.”

Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport, says they are aware of the proposed closures.
“If the proposed closure is likely to impact on the broader community then the City is obliged to conduct a public participation process to ensure that all parties who may be affected are afforded the opportunity to comment or lodge their objection.

In this instance there are well-defined pedestrian lines between Coniston Park and Sharedon Park across the public open space through Ivory Close and Zircon Circle, says Herron, which are used by a large number of residents and will impact the broader community.

“As such, the City will have to undertake a public participation process to determine whether there is wide support for this proposal or not,” he says “Once the public participation process has been concluded, the City will be in a position to take a decision, pending the consideration of all comments and possible objections.”

The decision on when to initiate the public participation process is being discussed, says Herron.

“The City is committed to conducting the public participation process required. No timeline can be set at this stage as the decision to permit the closure will be determined by the outcome of the public participation process.”

Residents come together to say that they have had enough of crime in their area they want fencing to help them feel safe again.

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