Closing problem lanes

Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south and councillor for Ward 78, speaks to Portland resident Eleanor Campher about lane closures. They are standing at one of the problematic lanes on Merrydale Avenue.

The City of Cape Town wants Mitchell’s Plain residents to identify lanes that have become crime hot spots.

Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south and the councillor for Ward 78, told residents at a meeting at the Portland community centre on Thursday June 8 that he planned to close problem lanes in response to numerous complaints.

Lanes linking to Merrydale, Eisleben, Spine, Morgenster and AZ Berman roads were some of the ones posing problems.

Eleanor Campher, from Portland, said thieves lurked in a lane near her home and she wanted it closed.

“We find it so difficult at night to sleep because the guys roam up and down in the lane. It is so bad that we even have to take turns sleeping in the house.

“It is unacceptable and I am sick and tired of this open lane. The thieves are using the lane to rob people on their way to work and school. They are also using it as a short cut for break-ins and even to have sex in it,’’ she said.

Another resident, Elvin van Niekerk, said they were a big problem and he backed Mr Andrews’s decision.

“The worst is on weekends; you can hear how the guys go on in the lanes. If they are not distributing drugs, they are swearing. This is not healthy for the children in our area, so we are hoping the City can intervene by closing the lanes,’’ he said.

Mr Andrews said the first step was to identify the problem lanes.

“I am recommending that these lanes be closed, and then get comment from the various departments such as traffic. I also would like this to be at no cost on the residents, but that will be discussed at a later stage.

“For now, we need residents to inform us about the problematic lanes.”

In 2013, the City of Cape Town closed 51 high-risk lanes in Portland and Westridge as part of anti-crime pilot project. Mr Andrews said the City now wanted to carry out the second phase of the project.