Lights out

2015-05-05 06:00

An attempt by the City of Cape Town to make open spaces and play parks safer for residents in Heideveld and surrounding areas, have been dealt a big blow after the electric cables and wiring were stolen on the first night the lights were switched on.

According to Ralph Jansen, vice-chairman and coordinator of the Heideveld Neighbourhood Watch, light poles were erected and connected recently at various robbery and mugging hotspots identified by the community.

However, while on patrol last week Thursday night, they were greeted with total darkness. Upon investigation the neighbourhood watch members discovered all the electrical cables and wiring were stolen during the night.

Jansen says on the one hand you have substance abusers and on the other merchants in the area who would want these lights off so that they could do business as usual in the dark.

“They want it to be dark to do their business – sell drugs, rob and mug, as well as burgle houses around these usually dark spaces. The drug and alcohol abusers in the area, especially, steal any and everything to resell for money for their next fix. This is really sad,” says Jansen.

According to councillor Anthony Moses, the City of Cape Town spent more than R200 000 of the last financial year’s budget to erect these light poles.

He says it was approved as part of the Ward 44 allocation for safety and development of the Heideveld area. The project was set to be completed by the end of April.

“After numerous public meeting discussions, money was set aside for the erection of light poles at various open spaces and parks in Heideveld including, amongst others, along Vanguard Drive opposite the mall and on the field across the Welcome Primary School.

Moses says most open spaces in the area are where criminal activities usually take place.

“They especially target people leaving for work in the early morning hours, as well as late afternoons when people get off shifts,” says Moses.

“Most of the robberies, muggings, house burglaries and even drug dealing happens at these open spaces in the dark.”

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