Residents enraged over unsafe lane

UNATHI OBOSE AND

Enraged Eastridge residents are reiterating calls for the City of Cape Town to close the lane that connects Knobwood Street and AZ Berman Drive, saying it is a hot spot for crime and a dumping site for people to discard their rubbish and even dead dogs.

One of the residents, Petro Allie whose house is next to the lane, said since she moved into the area in 1999 she had been calling on the City to close it but her efforts were fruitless (“Close lane of crime and dirt,” Plainsman, March 16).

“The lane is dangerous and unhealthy to the people, especially to the children. I clean it every day, but the same evening people dump their rubbish again. My husband has to dig holes to bury dogs and cats that people dump there to avoid contagious diseases to our family. I use three fly catchers in the kitchen every three days.”

Ms Allie said the dirt is also affecting her asthmatic five-year-old son’s health.

Ms Allie said she had reported the danger of the lane to Ward 79 councillor Solomon Philander on numerous occasions, but nothing has been done to address the matter.

“ I want him (Mr Philander) to stay a night in my house just to experience what it’s like. I feel like we’re living in a shack, we’re not safe at all,” she said.

Ms Allie said her husband Leon asked Mr Philander to put up a notice board to warn people not to dump in the lane, but he never did.

She said last week a woman, who was on her way to work, was robbed in the lane in the morning while a man was shot in front of their house during a robbery.

“People are living in silence. They’re scared to speak out and raise their voices and I’m saying enough is enough. No more killing or robbing of people in this lane,” Ms Allie said.

Another resident, Nadine September, said crime was escalating in the area and they needed police visibility. She said three years ago her mother’s house was burgled while they were sleeping and a flat screen television stolen.

Ms September said they reported the burglary to the police but there were no arrests.

“We ended up installing an alarm and extended the wall to protect us from criminals.”

Rushaad Schridden agreed that more police visibility was needed. “We are not safe here. Criminals and gang members are dominating this area. Our lives are in danger,” he said.

Mr Philander said as ward councillors he didn’t have authority to close lanes or even dispose of property without following the correct procedures of the City.

“The interested parties must declare their interest through the City’s property management department and they must complete the necessary forms and the process is followed to dispose of the property,” said Mr Philander.

He urged community to work together to speed up the progress.

“I would like to inform the greater community that we can complain and complain. However, if there is no community participation and willingness, it is difficult to make progress on issues that we’re facing daily,” he said.

Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport, told the Plainsman in March that the City must follow due process to effect for any lane closures.

He said residents must apply for lane closures through their local sub-council.