Westridge residents in dark over lights

Westridge resident Stephen de Jongh stands next to rubbish while behind him there is a vandalised street light with no bulb.

A Westridge resident has lambasted the City of Cape Town, accusing it of being incompetent after it allegedly failed to fix broken street lights in his neighbourhood for years.

Stephen de Jongh, 64, said residents of Stable Crescent have been staying in the dark for about seven years after street lights were vandalised. “We reported the broken street lights on numerous occasions to the City through our local councillors during local meetings hoping that something will come up.

“These lights were vandalised during the time Danny Christians was a councillor in the area and we informed him about them but he did nothing. Again we informed the current councillor Eddie Andrews but our efforts were futile,” said Mr De Jongh.

He said the City told them fixing street lights is too expensive. “They told us to fix a single pole they spend about R10 000. So, I don’t know. No matter the reason, they don’t fix them,” he said.

He said he is concerned about the escalating crime in the area because there are no lights. “People get robbed here every day. Three bodies were found here on different occasions within the last four years. Car hijacking and housebreaking are escalating in the area,” he said, adding that there is no police visibility.

However, Mr Christians, the ward councillor for Ward 81 (Rocklands, south of Chat Road, Portland, west of the railway line, Fifth Avenue, Cambridge Street, Trafalgar Way, Oxford Street and Merrydale Avenue, south of Westpoort Drive, east of Eisleben Road and north of Spine Road), said he was not the councillor for Mr De Jongh’s ward, which falls in Ward 78.

Ward 78 comprises of Westridge, Westgate, south of Morgenster Street, Portland, west of the railway line, south of Morgenster Road, east of Eisleben Road and north of Wespoort Drive, and Rocklands, north of Sheign Hassan Road.

“I’ve never been a ward councillor in that area. Stable Crescent was not in my ward. I was a councillor on the other side of Westridge,” he explained, adding that he used to assist people who approached him for help even though he was not their councillor.

Mr Andrews, who is the ward councillor for Ward 78 and the City’s Mayoral committee member for area south, said the street lighting infrastructure in Stable Crescent has been vandalised.

“These lights have previously been repaired at enormous cost on several occasions only to be vandalised again. This cycle of repair and vandalism is fruitless expenditure that cannot be sustained and as such installation of further lightning is being delayed until a viable option is identified which can prevent this,” he said.

Mr Andrews urged the community to look after the infrastructure in their area by reporting vandals or suspicious activities at or near the electricity or street lighting infrastructure to the South African Police Service on 10111 or the City’s metal theft unit on 0800 222 771.

Mr Andrews said each pole costs approximately R12 000 to fix.

He added that in most cases the metal is stolen to be sold for scrap value.

Mitchells Plain SAPS communications officer Constable Nozuko Makwayiba said housebreaking is decreasing throughout Mitchell’s Plain, which is an indication that the police are working. “The criminal element are also protected by certain sectors of the community to a degree that police are often attacked,” she said.