Woodlands residents want to be heard

Co-opt member Charmaine Human; treasurer Merna Robertson; chairman Clarence Human; secretary Junaid McLeod and vice-chairman Isaac Hermanus.

Residents of one of Mitchell’s Plain’s oldest areas are feeling neglected.

The Woodlands Residents’ Association say their requests for recreational, educational and health amenities in Woodlands are falling on deaf ears.

Chairman Clarence Human of Harmony Village addressed these concerns at their monthly meeting held at the Woodlands community centre on Thursday April 20.

“The community is angry about promises made by the ward councillor. We are one of the oldest areas in Mitchell’s Plain with close to 20 500 residents according to the last census but we are being neglected when we ask for certain things. It seems the newly built areas are getting the most attention from the City,” he said.

He said the organisation was only formed in November last year.

“We need a library, clinic, skills centre and play park in this area. The closest amenities are in Lentegeur which is 20 minutes away by car.”

Ward 75 comprises Woodlands, New Woodlands, Colorado Park, Rondevlei, Highlands Village, Westgate Villas, Harmony Village and Morgen’s Village.

“The other areas in the ward seem to get preference over the concerns from Woodlands residents. Since 2009 we have been asking for a play park. Children play in the courts in Harmony Village which leads to noise complaints from residents or they either play along the road which is not safe for them. Colorado has a skate-park. We told councillor Joan Woodman about our concerns at our annual general meeting last month and she said that in the next five years Woodlands would get a recreational facility,” he said.

The association has also called for the lanes between the courts to be fenced off as they are a hot spot for drug peddling. “We also put in a request for speed bumps in Selene Way but nothing materialsed. Ms Woodman also promised a piece of land in Selene Way would be fenced off.”

However, in an email sent on Wednesday April 19, Ms Woodman said the fence for the field had not been approved. “I have made no promises. It was put forth as a proposal by the previous councillor in June last year but was not approved as the quotation exceeded the allocated amount. The fencing referred to is an open space with no play equipment.”

Ms Woodman said at a meeting held on Thursday April 13, it was confirmed that 24 lanes were identified for closure, and this has been sent for approval at the May 2017 full council meeting.

The association also queried whether certain ward allocations reached fruition.

“We were told R20 000 would go towards an ECD hub in Woodlands; R20 000 for festive lights; R50 000 for a hairdressing programme in Ward 75; R20 000 for karate equipment in Colorado and R50 000 for a jazz festival. We demand answers because we represent the interests of the community. Ms Woodman needs to provide us with detailed feedback as we have not seen any improvements in the community,” said Isaac Hermanus, vice-chairman of the Woodlands Residents’ Association.

Ms Woodman responded: “R40 000 was allocated to the 2017/18 budget for an ECD hub by the previous councillor and only those ECDs registered on the sub-council database will benefit. It did not specify any area and will come into effect between July this year and June next year,” she said.

Commenting on the R20 000 allocated for the festive lights, she said: “This was redirected and added towards the hairdressing entrepreneurship programme for 2017/18. We will not be putting up festive lights. R70 000 was allocated for a hairdressing entrepreneurship programme for 2017/18 to empower our unemployed youth. This was allocated for the 2017/18 budget which I explained to the chairman that is effective between July this year and June next year.”

On her plans for Woodlands, she said: “The 2017/18 budget was allocated by the previous councillor, Natalie Bent and we will only be making proposals for the new financial budget now. I asked the executive of the forum to list their proposals for the new financial year in a combined ratepayers’ meeting held on Tuesday April 11 and I am still waiting for their proposal,” she said.

Junaid McLeod, secretary of the association, said another concern was the fencing off yards at the various courts in the area for safety reasons. “If our concerns are not taken seriously we will march to Parliament and construct temporary speed humps. We also want the City to address instances where their rental housing stock is being used as drug dens.”

Residents of Ward 75 are invited to attend a New Woodlands Residents’ Association meeting on Thursday May 4, at the Northwood Hall in New Woodlands, at 7.30am. Call Sharief on 079 679 9451 for more information.