Unsafe parking

Brandon Lavelot, Eastridge

Upon visiting Melomed Hospital Mitchell’s Plain, one would think that your vehicle would be safe parked outside even with two visible security guards, with a dog and surveillance cameras.

I am fully aware that it is public parking outside the hospital, that forms part of the Town Centre but the least Melomed can offer is decent safe parking for all their paying clients.

At the beginning of October, it took me 10 minutes to get to the doctor on the first floor and back to my vehicle that was parked in the parking provided when people alerted me that some opportunistic criminals tried to break into my bakkie and also stole a spare wheel.

I spoke to the head of security at the hospital, Ms Adams, that advised the following, which is obvious; that the parking is at own risk, it is a public parking and that the cameras outside only cover frontline, so clearly nothing could be done.

The only consolation was that I could contact her in the future for a secure parking next time I visit the hospital which is awesome, but a bit too late. Everyone knows that the Town Centre is no longer safe but it is a haven for brazen, opportunistic criminal delinquents who get away with their crimes and it encourages them to repeat the deeds with little to no consequence.

Every single day people visit the hospital, yet not only is the parking unsafe, most of the time there is never any parking available and clients have to park far away and leave their vehicles behind unattended or in the hands of illegal, dodgy car guards.

When you return and if you do not have money to give them, some understand but the others shout obscenities and show gestures that they will get you a next time and believe me they do remember you.

Can you imagine how difficult it must be for older people or people with walking disabilities to access the hospital with the parking challenges.

I am upset because we have a world class hospital here in Mitchell’s Plain but they cannot even offer safe parking.

People visiting the hospital must be made aware. I am pretty sure there are many that have suffered losses.

Blake van Aswegen, Melomed Mitchell’s Plain hospital manager, responds:

In the past the area was an open parking lot and Melomed Mitchell’s Plain was in communication with the municipality to purchase the parking and secure the area.

The municipality refused to sell the parking and the hospital decided to secure the area by paying for the fencing around the area to dissuade rogue elements from entering the parking area.

The parking is within the guidelines as set out by the Department of Health and we comply with all the required specifications.

The parking indicated in Mr Lavelot’s email belongs to the municipality, who is ultimately responsible for the public’s safety and security in the parking area.

Despite the municipalities responsibility, Melomed Mitchell’s Plain (“Melomed”) have put in place security measures for our patients and clients as indicated in Mr Lavelot’s email.

Melomed has addressed letters to the municipality regarding the shortage of parking and safety issues pertaining to said parking area.

Melomed, together with the business owners in and around Tango Square, have formed a Community Improvement District (CID) with the objective to improve the areas safety and security for our patients, clients and the public.

Furthermore, to drive much needed additional investment in the area.

Melomed is thus committed to improving the safety and security of the Mitchell’s Plain community inside and outside the Melomed Hospital’s premises by contributing to the CID at our own cost, further to addressing the security issues in our letters to the municipality.

Melomed is attempting to expedite achieving the CID objectives.

As there are many stakeholders involved, it is a timeous process that will unfold in addressing the concerns of Mr Lavelots email, as well as the broader community in the area.

In light of the above, we trust that the formation of the CID will contribute to address the public’s safety and security. We thank you for the community’s patience.

We trust that you have be guided accordingly.

Richard Bosman, executive director for Safety and Security, responds:

The City of Cape Town’s enforcement agencies try their utmost to ensure a visible policing presence; however, given all of the competing demands on officers, they are simply not able to be everywhere, all of the time.

While it is not a foolproof deterrent, we appeal to residents to please always ensure that their vehicles are secured, or if they do not feel safe leaving their vehicle in a public space, to consider having someone drop them at the hospital.