The Weltevreden Parkway Bridge between Colorado Park and Samora Machel is vandalised and used as a getaway route by criminals.
Jenny Daniels, vice-chairperson of Colorado Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CRRA), said initially the association wanted the Weltevreden Parkway bridge removed but they’ve settled on the idea of it being used just as a foot bridge.
“People have broken off the tar alongside the road to steal cables. On the right-hand side of the road sand mining took place. Part of the metal rail on the bridge was also stolen,” she said.
“We want a walkway. There’s been two hijackings in the area at the bridge as well as at the Caltex garage. They’ve also endured robbery. Once they go over the bridge they disappear behind the dwellings on the other side,” said Ms Daniels.
Natalie Bent, member of CRRA, said their petition for the bridge has 638 signatures from the community.
Initially the petition was for the closure of the bridge but they have agreed to make it a walkway instead of a road, said Ms Bent.
“We met with the councillors. I proposed that SAPS, neighbourhood watch members, LEAP officers and a private security company monitor the area of Colorado Park and the bridge, as well as have a container at the property at the bridge, however, we must communicate with those in that area to have a container there. It will make the people feel safer as they will see and have continuous monitoring. We await the outcome,” she said.
Sub-council 17 chairperson Elton Jansen said the purpose of the bridge is to connect communities and allow freedom of movement.
“I understand however the safety and security reasons why the Colorado residents wants the bridge gone because of criminals using it as a get-away route however demolishing a bridge is very complicated and not that easy process,” he said.
If they have to demolish or close roads because of safety reasons then they would have to do it across the city, he said.
“This will be against our policy and the Constitution of the country. The safety plight we recognise hence the reason why I requested an engagement with SAPS Lentegeur and SAPS Samora Machel via the MEC of Community Safety to address the concerns raised by Colorado residents,” said Mr Jansen.
Ward 75 councillor Joan Woodman visited the bridge with the CRRA on Monday May 30.
Ms Woodman told the Plainsman on Tuesday June 14 they did not know the extent of the sandmining.
“A budget has been put aside from the roads department as it is not a ward allocation, to have the bridge fixed. There is a team on site busy fixing the bridge,” she said.
Ms Woodman concurred with the residents that the bridge has become a getaway for crime, such as hijacking, break-ins, to name a few.
“If we can get to a point in really all working together in putting in something for the bridge to become a foot bridge, I support that as we’ve endured many incidents,” said Ms Woodman.
On Friday June 10 they had another walk on the bridge with all the role players, SAPS, Metro police, Law Enforcement and they noted structures going up at the bridge side.
“It is a safety risk for the broader Mitchell’s Plain community. Together we need to see how and what we can do for the safety of our community,” said Ms Woodman.