Keeping bullets away

2018-01-30 06:00
Residents assisted in digging the trench for the wall on Friday last week. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Residents assisted in digging the trench for the wall on Friday last week. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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Searidge Park residents have taken their safety into their own hands after raising enough money to erect a wall, closing off their street to gangsters and ­criminals.

Previously used as a thoroughfare for gangsters who used their walls for cover during shoot outs with rival gangs, residents from Prince Alfred Crescent have had enough and petitioned the City of Cape Town to allow them to erect the wall.

Ward 82 councillor Sheval Arendse says more communities should stand up against crime through their own initiatives.

“The field was closed off with barricades to help curb the dumping but because of the complaints of one person, it was taken away. He is not living here anymore and so the residents signed a petition and now they are building the wall,” says Arendse.

Neville Charles, the resident who initiated the petition says they needed to cordon off their crescent from the field.

“The vacant plot serves as a crossing and easy escape route for gangsters and criminals. It also provides convenient access for thugs into the crescent and other peaceful streets in the area. Gangsters are targeting residents on a daily basis and robbing children in front or not far from their homes at gunpoint. Hijackings were also taking place here,” he says.

While the shootings only started recently, crime has consistently escalated. The wall was five years in the making and the estimated cost for the wall is R8000. All the funds for the building were raised by the residents, who also assisted the registered builder in erecting the wall.

“When the residents heard the wall was going up, they volunteered their time to come and assist because it is their children also playing here,” says Arendse.

Charles delivered the petition and after it was passed, he approached the residents asking for assistance.

“It took us less than a week to get all the funding. I hope that it will eliminate the crime creating a safe environment for children to play and also stop the dumping,” he says.

Arendse adds that the dumping has been a constant concern: “We can clean here today and tomorrow it will be full again.”

“In addition to the dumping, the elements that are coming here and using these walls while shooting and are making it unsafe. I am fully in support of this.

“Children play here and I am glad that the residents see that this is necessary because they all agreed to it. This is the safest way and if the people say yes, we must listen.”

The plot is set to be bought by the Wolfgat Nature Reserve and will be cordoned off completely.

No timeline for this has been determined as yet, but the conservation department has already consulted with some of the ­residents.

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