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Thursday Dec 01, 2011

Residents to appeal to court for Tshwane road closure

The Tshwane Metro Council could be dragged before the Pretoria High Court by residents of Constantia Glen, who say there has been an increase in crime in their suburb.

Residents resolved at a recent public meeting to take their plea for road closure to the high court.

According to ward councillor Francois Bekker, residents applied to the council more than 16 months ago for permission to erect access restriction structures "in the light of the spiralling crime in their area".

He said: "The City of Tshwane has failed to consider the road closure application and the residents are now fed up."

Residents had reported a 225 percent increase in crime compared with the same period last year, he added.

He said several properties in the area, including a guest house, had been robbed in the past few months.

"The municipality is unwilling to let the residents take care of the situation. It has failed to come back to them in connection with the erection of access restriction structures."

Bekker said it was unfortunate that the residents had to resort to court to get the matter resolved.

"The community feels the municipality has failed to attend to the problem," he said.

Resident Pieter Reinecke said: "Our lawyers are in the process of drafting an application in which we will seek permission from the court to erect the access restriction structures pending a decision by the city council on our road closure application."

Pieter de Beer, a member of the Constantia Glen Security Village, said they had placed the council on terms, and expected it to react within a certain period.

He said failure by the municipality would result in the challenging it in court.

De Beer said they had fulfilled all requirements pertaining to their application to restrict access to the area, and had paid their fees to the municipality for the application.

"Crime is high and the trouble is if we do not close our area, we are not going to get it under control."

De Beer said there were all types of crime affecting the area.

"Some of these are petty crimes while others are serious. We have in the past experienced crimes such as theft of motor vehicles, break-ins and murder."

He said one of the biggest problems was vagrants who lived in open spaces in the area.

Vagrants are also an issue in Ward 42, where councillor Bronwynn Engelbrecht said residents of Waterkloof and Monument Park are "sick and tired of empty promises, petty crime, illegal advertising and vagrants".

Engelbrecht said the purpose of bylaws was to manage, regulate and ensure a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment.

"In other words, for residents the by-laws are critical in order to create a safe and pleasing environment," she said.

Engelbrecht, who organised a bylaw workshop with fellow councillor Siobhan Muller, said several Tshwane officials from various departments gave presentations.

"This was all wonderful to hear, but every department emphasised the reason that the by-laws are not being implemented.

"There are always excuses - lack of staff, lack of resources, etc. These are not the residents' problems. Residents are being levied way above what the average resident can afford - high rates and taxes, absurdly high electricity accounts and high security costs," she said.

Pretoria News

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