With proposed ward allocation budgets set at R1 million for the 2021/’22 financial year, many are questioning and engaging with the City of Cape Town on where it will all be going.
For Ward 72, councillor Kevin Southgate is looking at his ward’s parks, with a collective R440 000 dedicated to parks and recreation projects and operations.
But with the cost of constantly repairing vandalised park facilities in the ward, is it worth it?
In Ward 72, Southgate says, there are 17 parks and many of them with play or gym equipment for use by residents.
However, the ward has struggled with vandalism and theft over the years (“Residents urged to use the Vlei”, People’s Post, 6 August 2019); most recently the Chiphillside Road park in Retreat was vandalised.
“Chiphillside was vandalised about two months ago. The disappointment though was that the new equipment was vandalised so soon after it was installed. The cost of repairs: R8 000,” explains Southgate.
This ongoing problem he attributes, in some part, to idle youth.
“Vandalism is often caused by youth who are either not in school or people just intent on being unappreciative and disrespectful of public property.
“This can be seen by the indiscriminate spraying of graffiti on walls and public infrastructure.”
The relatively new Princess Vlei park jungle gym equipment has been vandalised several times since it was installed in 2019.
“Princess Vlei park has been vandalised three times. The costs of repairs to vandalised equipment is R30 000. With the appointment of park rangers, vandalism has at least been limited. However, this too comes at a huge cost to the City.”
Secretary of the Princess Vlei Forum Bridget Pitt noted in 2019 that vandalism is also sometimes a means to an end for desperate people who may attempt to sell the stolen equipment. “We want to appeal to the community to help stop any vandalism or theft; for example, if someone tries to sell you a swing that has been cut off, please report it,” she urged, at the time.
Residents are encouraged to use the parks for their intended purposes, with constant upgrades and repairs showing the City’s investment in improving communities. And so, in a public plea to the residents, Southgate wrote on Facebook: “Our parks are there to add value and to benefit our communities.”
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