Bushes pose safety threat in Fairview

2016-06-29 06:00
Mzwandile Ndimba (left) and Lesley Ndlaleni watch as Msimelelo Hlathi and Vusumzi Ndlaleni use hacksaws to cut the trees and bushes that are posing a danger to Fairview residents.                                                   Photo: NCEBA DLADLA

Mzwandile Ndimba (left) and Lesley Ndlaleni watch as Msimelelo Hlathi and Vusumzi Ndlaleni use hacksaws to cut the trees and bushes that are posing a danger to Fairview residents. Photo: NCEBA DLADLA

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SOME Nelson Mandela Bay Ward 6 residents from Fairview in Port Elizabeth rue the day they bought plots in this area. They complain that the area is full of bushes that have become a danger to their safety.

They claim to have reported the matter to the Port Elizabeth Land Restitution and Housing Association (PELRHA), Ward 6 Councillor Retief Odendaal and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality officials, to no avail.

“The bushes around our houses are becoming bigger by the day and that is putting our lives in danger,” said Mzwandile Ndimba, a resident.

According to Ndimba, as a result of this they are faced with break-ins almost every day. He fears that their lives, including those of their wives and children, are not safe, he said.

According to Ndimba, PELRHA used to cut the grass and the bushes for them but refused to do so lately claiming that it was the responsibility of the municipality to cut the bushes.

“Nobody is taking responsibility while we lose valuable property here in the meantime.

Thieves find it easy to break-in and steal while using the very dense bushes as a hide out,” added another resident Lesley Ndlaleni.

Ndlaleni showed PE Express a house that was broken into the previous weekend whilst the owner and neighbours were all at work.

They said they did not know who the owners of the overgrown plots were but were taking the brunt in the meantime.

“The people we spoke to, however, claimed the area was private property and therefore not the responsibility of the municipality,” said Ndlaleni.

Local Residents Association Chairperson Robin Ownhouse said, “These overgrown bushes have become too much of a problem. We have noticed that thieves steal and use the area for their loot and also as a place to plan their next break-in.”

In the meantime, the concerned residents from Thursday last week have started to collect R50 from each household and are employing people to cut the bushes.

Ward councillor Retief Odendaal said the residents’ complaint was justified. He said their safety is very important and that it was his office that organised for PELRHA to cut the bushes. But he also understood when PELRHA two years later, argued that it was not their responsibility.

“We are looking at possibilities of addressing their plight, by cleaning the area, by expediting installing of street lights, talking to SAPS for more visible policing, as well as encouraging residents to play a more active role in community safety, among other things,” he said.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said he understood the plight of the concerned residents.

He said, “They must bring the problem to the attention of the municipality. Yes, it is the responsibility of the owners of the plots to cut the bushes, but we can trace the owners for them to do what is right.”

Mniki added, however, that the metro municipality could help the residents by cutting the bushes and later claim the costs from the property owners.

“We could search for them (property owners), add the costs to their accounts and threaten to take legal action against them if they refused to pay,” he said.

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