Call to fix field after double murder

Standing infront of the area where two bodies were found on Tuesday, March 3, are Peter Dyson, chairperson of Juventus Football Club, Paul Daniels, chairperson of the facility management committee of Dolomites sports field in Tafelsig, Shahien van Nelson, chairperson of the New Woodlands Ratepayers Association, and Nazeem Johannes, the head coach of Juventus.

A double murder adjacent to Lentegeur sports field, which is in a vandalised and neglected state, has led to renewed calls from residents to have the sports field properly fenced and revived.

Police are investigating the double murder of a 31-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, whose bodies were found on the field on Tuesday March 3.

According to Lentegeur SAPS, the man had sustained gunshot wounds to his upper body while the woman had been shot in the head. The bodies were discovered by a passer-by at 9.45am. The motive for the shooting is still unknown.

Byron de Villiers, chairperson of Lentegeur Community Police Forum, said the field is used as a thoroughfare and is in the heart of gang activity. “Where is the City’s enforcement and police? This would be one aspect of solving the bigger picture,” he said.

“I used to play football there. At this point, who do we point a finger at? The community had a role to play in fixing it and maintaining it, and so did the City.”

Mr De Villiers said there needs to be a collective effort to address the issue. “A plan needs to be put in place from community leaders, the City should allow the community to be a part of this. We need to have a proper sit-down with Ward 116 councillor, Michael Pietersen, on the way forward,” he said.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said the City’s recreation and parks department knew about the double murder that took place on the public open space adjacent to Lentegeur sports field.

A Vibracrete wall marks the perimeter between the sports field and the public open space, which are both managed by the recreation and parks department.

“Currently the public open space is undeveloped as the contours of the land parcel are very uneven. The upward and downward slopes of the dunes make it currently unfeasible to build a park or construct a building on this land,” said Dr Badroodien.

The department has issued a request for quotation for the removal of alien vegetation causing an increase in safety risks on the public open space. The area next to the sports field as well as close to a nearby school will be cleared once a service provider is appointed. There are currently no plans to fence the public open space,” he said.

“Due to ongoing vandalism at the sports field, plans are in place to repair and replace damaged fencing. The department will also be upgrading the facility by installing electricity and repairing the irrigation system which was also previously vandalised.”

The cost of any upgrade will depend on what the final decision is with regards to the possible upgrades and available budget. At this stage that information is not available, he said.

“Once the irrigation system is restored and lighting is installed, this will improve the overall condition of the facility and enable the department to cater for more sporting codes.

“Currently, informal soccer matches and golfing takes place on the field. Under the current conditions, the fields are not deemed playable and the ‘book, pay and play’ system can thus not be implemented.”

Dr Badroodien said outside of the structural improvements mentioned, the recreation and parks department works closely with law enforcement and SAPS to address crime and vandalism occurring in this area.

Peter Dyson, chairperson of Juventus Sports Club, said the field lying dormant affects clubs like his. “We initially trained behind West End Primary School in Lentegeur, now we train on tar. We don’t have space to train. Westridge sports field, Stephan Reagon is sought after, why aren’t we?”

Paul Daniels, chairperson of the Dolomites sports field facility management committee in Tafelsig, said they can’t play soccer because crime is rising. They are looking for help as they cannot make use of Lentegeur sports field. “We have to rotate fields in Westridge, Portland and Rocklands, travelling from Tafelsig is not ideal for us.”

Lentegeur resident, Yagyah Brink, said the users are frustrated because of the quality of the field. “Secure it and make it smaller. This field is difficult to maintain. It will be manageable, if houses are built on the perimeter. The community should be active in preventing vandalism at the field,” he said.

The field falls in Ward 116 where Michael Pietersen is the ward councillor. He said houses being built near the field are under discussion. “There are no concrete dates on this as yet. I had a meeting with stakeholders on how we can improve this field. The field needed to be secured with fencing but it was stolen the last time it was put up.”

Mr De Villiers, however, said he has not seen public participation around housing on or near this facility. ‘It would mean a sporting code would suffer. I have no objection to housing but not enough effort is being done to revive the facility,” he said.

Mr Pietersen will have a meeting with senior officials on Monday March 16, to discuss the way forward. While this meeting is not for the public, Mr Pietersen can be contacted for council matters relating to the ward on 021 400 3323.

Anybody with information regarding the double murder is asked to contact the investigating officer, Lentegeur SAPS Detective-Constable Jacquen Paulsen, on 083 2559 694 or 021 377 5102.