Court garden destroyed

2015-05-05 06:00
Elizabeth “Aunty Bettie” James was in tears when she explained how the garden that she and a fellow pensioner and resident Glynn Craven were maintaining at Mentz Court in Hanover Park, was demolished by other residents recently. 

Rowena h

Elizabeth “Aunty Bettie” James was in tears when she explained how the garden that she and a fellow pensioner and resident Glynn Craven were maintaining at Mentz Court in Hanover Park, was demolished by other residents recently. PHOTO: Rowena h

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Two pensioners of Mentz Court in Hanover Park are still in disbelief after their precious plant and tree garden was demolished in their absence – allegedly by other residents in the same court.

The garden was not only used to beautify the front of the block of flats, but the aloe grown here was used for medicinal purposes by some of the residents.

According to Glynn Craven (67), who started planting the garden as a hobby almost 16 years ago, he had spent a lot of time and money on maintaining the garden to benefit all in the court.

“But they destroyed everything in a wink.

“They chopped off all the plants and flowers, as well as the big trees. We had palm trees, medicinal aloe and much more. And [they] even threw acid on some of the plants.”

He says the alleged perpetrators claim it was done on instruction of the Hanover Park Civic Association, because gangsters used these trees and the garden as hiding place. “This is untrue,” says Craven.

Ighsaan Nazier, deputy chairperson of the Hanover Park Civic Association, strongly denies this.

He says the association was even looking into how to improve this and other gardens in the area to grow vegetables to try and alleviate poverty in the community.

Nazier says the association received word of the incident that happened about three weeks ago while the residents were housed at the container village while their flats were being renovated.

“The tears were streaming down the faces of these pensioners (also civic members) when they informed us about the garden.

“We live in a concrete jungle and the garden was a little piece of nature among all this.”

Elizabeth “Aunty Bettie” James (68), who helped Craven in the garden, says she is heartbroken that people would do this to nature. “As I was watering what’s left of the garden this morning (last Wednesday), it struck me with what anger they hacked the trees.

“I’m saddened about the hard work, time and money we’ve put in and what they’ve destroyed. The garden was our hobby, we love gardening. It was our pride,” says a teary Aunty Bettie.

She says when people walked past the garden, they always admired the beauty of it.

Nazier says the civic association members are saddened at the destruction.

“People seem to join in without question to destroy, but they never seem to want to help build things up. It’s really sad.”

The pensioners hope to start rebuilding their garden as soon as the City of Cape Town erects a promised fence around the block of flats.

Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, mayoral committee member for human settlements, says an eyewitness report states that the garden was damaged on 4 March by “fellow tenants in Mentz Court Block A who were worried that the garden served as an ideal hideout for gangsters during shootouts”.

She says the complaint was raised through the ward councillor, investigated and responded to already

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