Volunteers keep kids playing

2017-07-18 06:02
The residents planting poles for the new palisade fencing.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

The residents planting poles for the new palisade fencing.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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A group of residents were surprised by an unexpected paycheque following their countless hours spent voluntarily taking back their spaces.

After theft, gangsterism and dumping made the Tafelsig sports field useless, a group of parents decided it was time to take ownership of the field.

Ward councillor for the area Sheval Arendse says he supported the residents taking back their spaces.

“Residents always come to me to ask what they can do to assist and they wanted to improve the field.

“So they were volunteering at the field, keeping dumping at bay so that the children could play here,” he says.

The field was once fully enclosed. Five years ago, Arendse expressed his concerns about it.

“They enclosed the field five years ago and I was worried that the vibracrete would be stolen. About a year later, all of the slabs were stolen. They even stole a 10 x 2m gate and they did not stop until there was nothing left to steal,” says Arendse.

Thieves also stole fencing at the ablution facilities and sport equipment that was installed at the field. This left the field completely exposed, resulting in dumping.

“Our children play here. They play soccer and netball and with the gate being stolen it was very unsafe,” says Leon Pedro.

Pedro is a ward committee member and has been a resident of Tafelsig for 17 years.

He and some of the other residents were volunteering at the field when a contractor arrived to start work on the field.

“On Friday 7 July, the contractor arrived and asked who all these people were working at the field.

“I told them they were residents volunteering and he said he would hire them to continue working,” says Arendse.

Subforum chairperson Charmaine Marhota, who also volunteered at the field, adds: “We had to sign contracts and we were surprised that we were going to get paid.”

Marhota and Pedro are two of ten people, including residents, ward committee members and neighbourhood watch members, who were cleaning up the field before work began.

The field shares a boundary wall with a section of the Wolfgat Nature Reserve and Searidge Park Primary School.

“I played on this field when I was at school. This was the best field in Tafelsig,” says Marhota. “But when they started to steal the fence and the poles, it just went down.”

Marhota says she did not like the way the field looked and approached the councillor.

“I want to make sure that this can be the best field again,” she says.

Although they are getting paid for this work, Marhota and Pedro both agree they will continue to volunteer after the work is done to ensure the field stays safe.

“This is for our community and for the children,” says Marhota.

Arendse says the addition of neighbourhood watch members and residents taking ownership has resulted in a safer workspace for the contractor.

“The workers say this is the first time they come to a site and they are not getting robbed,” says Arendse.

The work included removing the old vibracrete poles and slabs and planting new poles for the palisade fencing that now encloses the field.

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