What a royal nuisance

2016-11-08 06:00

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Residents of Royal Villas in Royal Road, Maitland have no allusions of royalty, with an informal settlement in their midst causing problems.

Liz Morta is one of the residents in this estate who feels that there needs to be some serious action with regards to the informal structures in Royal Road.

“When we bought our house in 1998 we were told that more houses were planned for that area and the people would be moved,” she says.

“It’s 2016 and the structures are still there and unfortunately attracting criminal elements and activities that are affecting the area and devaluing our properties.

“For the past 18 years we have been trying to get answers but there’s just no solution in sight and we are worried about our safety.”

Morta explains that a few years ago a census was done at the settlement and the families were issued with numbers.

“They were also told that no other people would be allowed to put up any new structures and that they should inform the human settlements manager from the City of Cape Town if new people moved in.

“This has not worked because some of them have made extensions to their sites and there’s lots of new faces.”

Morta claims some of the residents of the settlement have even started a “business” selling water.

Alleged drug dealing is also a concern for the residents of Royal Villas.

Morta points out that there is constant activity of cars pulling up there and leaving quickly.

“Earlier this year a neighbour’s home almost burnt down when an adjacent shack was set alight. The fire was so fierce that walls of the home and the woodwork of the roof started burning. If those people were not at home, it would have been a total disaster but evidence of the damage is still there.”

There are allegations that people at the settlement burn cables for the copper wiring.

“We have to endure constant smoke and soot on our properties. Sometimes it is so bad that it fills all the homes in the area.”

Maitland police spokesperson Constable Lorencial Johnson says they are aware of the situation at the squatter camp.

“In the past, raids were conducted at the camp and arrests were made by Maitland police for charges such as being in possession of drugs and dealing in drugs.

“People in the camp are occupying the space illegally, but as the police it is not within our powers to evict the people currently residing there.”

Another problem in the area relates to the trucks that use Royal Road to get to the container depot in the area with Morta complaining that the road was not made for such heavy vehicles.

“There’s also the problem with fires to burn cables and they have to endure constant smoke and soot on their property. Sometimes it is so bad that it fills all the homes in the area.”

Another problem in the area relates to the trucks that use Royal Road to get to the container depot in the area.

“The road was not made for such heavy vehicles,” says Morta.

“There’s some major problems when more than 200 trucks use the road in the mornings and when the road is clear the trucks speeding down the road are causing structural damage with walls cracking and you can see the damage in the roads.

“Directly opposite my driveway there is a dip in the road and it makes a loud thump when the trucks pass, sometimes throughout the night.

“We feel there should be more restrictive measures in the road, even for cars that use the road to by-pass Voortrekker Road.”

Mayco member for transport, Brett Herron, responded to the traffic concerns because the land where the settlement is situated belongs to the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.

“Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, conducted an extensive investigation for the purpose of implementing traffic calming measures along Royal Road in Maitland recently,” he says.

“As a result, a raised pedestrian crossing and eight speed humps were installed along Royal Road between Station Road and Second Avenue.

“These measures were taken to eliminate the free movement of container trucks through the residential environment. TCT has also investigated and subsequently installed heavy vehicle restriction signs at all entrances to Royal Road such as at Koeberg Road, Station Road and all of the other roads off Voortrekker Road connecting to Royal Road.

“The section of Royal Road at the link between Koeberg Road and Station Road did not receive any traffic calming measures in the form of speed humps, but was reviewed for pedestrian safety in the form a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Royal Road and Station Road.

“An existing signalised pedestrian crossing is also located at the Koeberg Road Primary School and as such no further interventions are needed from TCT. “This section of Royal Road is also the only direct link for container trucks to and from the container depot and therefore no additional restrictions could be considered as this would be seen as an infringement of their right to access.

“Due to the extent of our investigations and the measures already implemented, TCT is not inclined to install any additional traffic calming measures in the form of speed humps along Royal Road.”

At the time of going to press there was no response from the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.

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