People living alongside pedestrian lanes in Mitchell’s Plain have seen the kinds of horrors that nightmares are made of.
Portland resident Adam Dirk said even a street committee member had been robbed in the narrow lane linking Vaalriver Road and Silversands Avenue.
He was speaking at a public meeting at the Vaalriver Road park on Thursday November 16. The meeting had been called by Portland councillor Eddie Andrews.
“There’s a lot of robberies taking place in that lane,” Mr Dirk said.
Mr Andrews said robberies were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the kinds of crimes which were committed in the dozens of pedestrian lanes in Mitchell’s Plain and that was why he was motivating for all of them to be closed.
“If any of you don’t want the lane to be closed because it will make your walk to the bus stop or the shop longer, I invite you to come and sleep in someone’s house who lives next to a lane. People have been shot and stabbed in those lanes. Dead bodies have been found in those lanes,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews said the lanes were part of apartheid spatial planning and 52 lanes had already been closed. The 52 were among 57 that had been earmarked for closure as part of the pilot phase of the project.
“Phase one is confirming these success stories,” he said. “People are happy that we are closing the lanes.”
More lanes in Merrydale, Eisleben, Morgenster and Wespoort roads would be closed, Mr Andrews said.
These roads fall within Mr Andrews’ ward boundaries but he added that he was motivating that all the lanes in Mitchell’s Plain be closed. However, there would be a public participation process, he said.
“Council is not just going to close the lane. There must be engagement with residents.”
Also on the agenda on the day was water. “We have a water crisis,” Mr Andrews said. “It is not a hoax, it is not a myth, it’s a true story. We don’t realise that we have a water crisis because when you open the tap water comes out but if you don’t believe that we have a crisis, I’ll put you in my car and take you to the dam.
“If the dam is full then I’ll cover the petrol but if the dam is not, then you’ll cover the petrol.”
The recent rains have had little impact on the dam levels, Mr Andrews said. “When it rains for a day or two, the dams won’t level up. It needs to rain for months and months for the dams to level up.”
Mr Andrews encouraged residents to reuse their grey water. “If I come to your house and I don’t find buckets full of grey water for recycling, then its a problem. If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” he said.
He also explained that residents whose water use remained consistently above 87 litres a person, a day, would have water management devices installed at their homes.
The device would automatically stop the water flow to a home if a leak was detected or if the quota was exceeded.
“But if you know that you are going to have a funeral or a wedding at your home on a particular day, then you can apply to have the water free flowing on that day,” he said.
The quota was also designed for household of four persons so the device cuts supply after 350 litres.
Households with more than four people could therefore also apply for an increase in quota.
Anyone who had water queries or wanted to report water wastage could WhatsApp the City on 063 407 3699.