The Emmarentia Post, No 1, March 2021
A message from ERA
Normally the religious holidays coming up are a time to get together with family or friends or to share the special time with others in big and small gatherings.
Unfortunately Covid-19 is still with us and will be for some time.
Let’s all lower the third wave together. Let’s just keep doing what we have to do to stay safe from the virus so that we can all be here again next year.
Tackling the problems, one at a time
Emmarentia’s active WhatsApp groups are a good gauge of residents’ true feelings. Recently there was a lively debate about the litany of woes that we are faced with: potholes, loadshedding, water outages, petty theft, people sleeping on pavements, litter strewn across pavements, illegal dumping, verges unmown, a City that is short of money.
Residents bemoaned a city that doesn’t listen to residents’ concerns, power surges and outages that were playing havoc with freezer contents and appliances, while another described the uphill battle of keeping her corner clean. ‘I remove 200 illegal posters from my corner weekly. I have removed more PENIS ENLARGEMENT and Lost LOVER posters stuck onto our robots with superglue than I care to remember.
I clean up a urine soiled BUS STOP with a dustbin overflowing every single day or my cupboards and clothing would stink of urine … take a drive through Kensington and have a look at their corners – ours are not far off.’
The same resident put a challenge to ERA and to all of us who live in the suburb: ‘Want to volunteer a day or two ERA? Or ask residents to clean up just outside their own homes? While asking … ask them to stop dumping their garden garbage on corners … so much one could do to make our OWN space so much better if we all worked collectively as a neighbourhood.
Another resident took up this challenge without being asked. Unhappy with the state of the weeds on the path crossing the dam, he arrived with his garden shears, a rake and a bag and proceeded to clear the path of weeds and undergrowth – thank you Faizel, you’ve shown us the way.
Get involved. Join ERA. Help us take on issues that affect all of us who live in Emmarentia.
Start by following the example of the resident who cares for her corner. Make sure your own verge is clean and clear of rubbish, don’t dump your garden refuse on the corners and keep the pavement pathways clear so that pedestrians can walk safely on them.
And no we can’t always rely on Felicity and Let’s Work – her team is too much in demand right across the Ward, there are just too many things that need doing. We need to do what we can ourselves.
Find out more about what ERA does and has been doing here: https://era.org.za/join-era/
Note: As we were sending out this newsletter, we heard that another group of people, inspired by Faizel, had hired a team to cut back and clean all the weeds and overgrowth on the east side of the dam wall. Thank you to all
What are ERA’s immediate priorities?
One of our first priorities is to tackle the infrastructure – water, power and roads.
Arno Steinmuller, newly-joined member of ERA’s Exco and who now guides ERA’s infrastructure portfolio, has been busy assessing flow rates of persistent water leaks along different sections of Hill, Kei and Komatie Roads. He estimates that with some of the very bad water leaks that continued for days, Joburg Water was losing up to R80 000 rands worth of water a day.
We worked with the councillor, David Hensman. He submitted Arno’s reports. ‘There’s no budget for capex,’ came the reply from Joburg Water.
ERA sat in on the IDP session on March 3 2021 at which suburbs can request capex spend. Arno spoke of the water problem. We were impressed by the depot manager from Joburg Water who said she was aware of the extent of the problem, that parts of Emmarentia’s water pipes were still the original old metal ones that urgently needed replacing.
A few days later, an e-mail came to Hensman from Joburg Water saying that they were hoping to replace 7590m of piping in the next financial year that begins in June/July 2021.
Arno turned his attention to power problems. He examined the TSS on Hill Road near Mazoe. He sent his report to City Power via our councillor. “The substation is overheating, leaking oil and has a voltage output of 267V on one of the phases.” City Power followed up and confirmed that it needed to be replaced urgently as there appeared to be insulation damage and internal overheating of the transformer. As this newsletter went to print, City Power was still trying to secure budget to replace in this financial year.
ERA has also requested City Power to do an assessment of the Lotsani Road sub which regularly causes power surges damaging residents’ appliances and equipment. The sub also tends to blow fuses on a regular basis.
And then there’s the potholes. Drivers through Emmarentia have become used to driving on the right-hand side at the bottom of Komatie, on The Braids (near Hill Road), on Louw Geldenhuys (near The Braids) and numerous other roads in the suburb. That’s because where there should be tarmac, there’s just earth and sometimes gaping holes.
The vast majority of these ‘potholes’ are caused by water leaks in the road. The holes dug by Joburg Water are then meant to be reinstated by JRA.
Over the past year the ward committee has kept badgering JRA about the potholes and the failed reinstatements and the councillor has been raising the problems in the monthly ward councillor forum where senior managers of each utility are present. And residents have continued to report potholes to firstname.lastname@example.org
But nothing happened. All we heard was that ‘there is no asphalt’.
And then in March 2021 JRA released a press statement explaining the problem with its non-operational asphalt plant bought at great expense a few years ago. It set out its plan for dealing with pothole backlogs until the end of March and Emmarentia is on its spreadsheet. As we released this newsletter, some of the potholes have been repaired, but we are still waiting for the gaping holes of the reinstatements to be done.
ERA has also submitted its wishlist for capex spend by the City in 2022. Find it here https://era.org.za/era-makes-cbp-idp-submission/
Help us report and monitor services (or lack of):
We need you to help us to continue reporting and monitoring that the leaks/outages/potholes have been repaired – see below for who to contact.
|Potholes/ reinstatements /blocked stormwater email@example.com Copy to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com||Details of which road the pothole is on and the name of the road on the nearest corner. If not fixed within 30 days, escalate to the councillor with the reference – firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Water/sewerage email@example.com Copy to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com||Details of which road the water leak is on and the name of the road on the nearest corner. Water leak: If not fixed within 48 hours, escalate to the councillor with the reference – firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org Sewerage leak: If not fixed within 24 hours, escalate to the councillor with the reference – email@example.com and to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com|
|Power outage||Download www.citypower.mobi app and report outages, no streetlights etc||For streetlights out, give the number of the streetlight painted on the pole and the street name. If not fixed within 7 days, escalate to the councillor with the reference – firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org|
2. Resisting the proposed Five Storey mixed use development on Barry Hertzog Avenue/ Gleneagles/Linden roads
The Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) to hear the merits of the proposed 5-storey development in Emmarentia resumed on March 12 2021. It was a chance for the developer to put his views on why the development should go ahead. On April 12, ERA and other objectors will have a chance to present their views. ERA/ GRA continue to oppose the development in its current form.
For background on this issue see here: https://era.org.za/proposed-mixed-use-development-to-go-to-tribunal/
On March 12 the applicant spent the whole day presenting his case on why the Tribunal should approve the development. The development proposes a 5-storey mixed use development (4-storeys along the boundary with the existing townhouses below the Shell garage) with basement parking. It will accommodate 89 residential units, with 500 sq metres of commercial and retail. The latter will include a day hospital, shops, offices and medical facilities.
The developer argued that the development:
- will curb pressure on the natural environment by utilizing land within the urban development boundary in a strategic location. It will also enable citizens to have access to green infrastructure without negatively impacting it.
- will be located within the urban development boundary with high levels of access to amenities in close proximity.
- will also address spatial inequalities and the city’s job-housing mismatch because of its location in relation to economic activity.
- was in line with the city’s new nodal review plan which allows for increased density and encourages mixed use developments, including 5-storey ones like the one the developer wants to build.
- will promote robust sustainable development through efficient densities and land use.
- will enhance inclusivity and social mixing.
The developer’s traffic expert said that increased traffic would not be a problem in the immediate surrounds but that there could be increased congestion at the intersection between Tana and Barry Hertzog where an additional slip road could be added.
The ERA/GRA Team raised as problems traffic congestion issues, the lack of updated reports on the state of infrastructure as well as the fact that the height was incongruous with existing properties. The full details of residents’ objections including those of ERA and GRA will be heard on April 12 at the resumption of the Tribunal hearings. After that the Tribunal will have heard both sides and will make their ruling/decision probably some time in May.
‘Please be assured that we will present your views with well-researched, sound technical facts, great care and integrity as we know how upset, frustrated and angry many of you are about this development,’ says Gemey Abrahams, ERA’s town planning portfolio head.
Gemey added that, ‘We also appreciate that the communities were open to offering alternative development solutions for the site.’ Since 2014 ‘ERA and GRA have met many times with the city, residents and the developer to propose an appropriate residential development on the sites, to no avail to date.’
Thanks to objectors’ generous donations we were able to secure specialist lawyers and experts to guide our input. If you would still like to donate to help ERA pay these costs (or join ERA and boost our coffers that way) please pay to:
Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank, A/c 1975051173
Send POP to email@example.com—reference: Tribunal
In the pipeline:
Cleaning and securing the shopping precinct on Greenhill/Komatie Road/Barry Hertzog
On March 30 ERA will meet with shopowners, the landlords, SAPS/CPF Parkview, security companies, Felicity from Let’s Work, to discuss how to secure the area better for shoppers and residents and tackle the problems of some troublesome carguards, theft of motor vehicles, cellphones, cleanliness etc… etc. More in the next newsletter.
- Meet with Checkers management to talk about increased security in the parking area and surrounds
Meet the ERA team
We still need more volunteers to help ERA do all that residents want us to do. Young and old are the core of the ERA team and all of us lead busy lives involved with other things on top of ERA commitments. Some of us have full-time jobs or run their own professional practices, or are involved with other organisations.
Chairperson Ayanda Mjekula
Vice chair Vacant
Treasurer Brian Askew
Communication Claire Hoffmann
Green spaces and events Vacant
Infrastructure Arno Steinmuller
Newsletter, website Jenny Grice
Town planning, building plans, heritage Gemey Abrahams
We are in urgent need of:
* an IT expert who can help advise us on the technical aspects of our website which uses Word Press – we are sorely missing Cassim Boorany who admirably served this role but who sadly passed on earlier this year.
* someone who is prepared to hold the security portfolio and who will liaise with security companies, the Parkview CPF, SAPS etc.
We welcome anyone who’d like to help. You don’t have to hold a specific portfolio, you can just join us and support us on the many projects that we want to get involved in and are already involved in. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What has ERA been busy with over the last year?
- Managed and signed off numerous applications from residents for building changes in terms of the Heritage Act and Louw Geldenhuys family regulations.
- Continually monitored requests from property owners for changes in density, removal of restrictions on properties and didn’t approve those that we believed weren’t in keeping with the suburb’s precinct plan (find our precinct plan here https://era.org.za/emmarentia-precinct-plan/
- Appointed specialist lawyers, a traffic expert, infrastructure experts and a market analysis expert to oppose the developer at the City’s Tribunal. The developer wants to build a 5-storey residential, commercial and medical centre in the triangle of land bounded by Gleneagles, Linden and Barry Hertzog Avenue. The Tribunal will hear more evidence in April 2021.
- Monitored and reported illegal land use/building.
- Kept residents informed through regular newsletters, the ERA website and Facebook page and included information around Covid eg. resources for kids
- Donated R1000 to Parkview CPF for SAPS Parkview for Covid-related safety equipment
- During lockdown encouraged residents to support Ward 88’s Let’s Work project and other organisations that were in need of donations in cash or kind
- Supported the Emmarentia Eventide Home with donations of masks, an infra red thermometer and an Xmas in July lunch (with generous donations from residents) to raise their spirits
- Submitted an IDP request https://era.org.za/era-makes-cbp-idp-submission/ to the City for capital expenditure projects for 2022
- Attended Parkview CPF meetings
- Took part in consultations with City Parks and consultants over plans to rehabilitate the top two dams in the dog-walking section of the park and pointed out several problems with the initial proposal and suggested changes. The plan was for the rehabilitation to begin in winter 2020 however Covid-19 delayed this
- Organised sponsorship from Tyson Properties for a ‘please pick up after your dog’ sign at the Orange Road entrance to the park
- Gave evidence as an interested party in the legal case of the opposition by community members to the erection of a 15m Telkom tower in Marico Road. ERA listed the clauses in Emmarentia properties’ title deeds imposed by the Louw Geldenhuys family that were not complied with by Telkom and the Council.
- Organised a virtual ERA AGM for all residents to give a report on ERA activities over the previous year.
NEWS – A stinky situation
One morning recently an Emmarentia resident is confronted with sewerage flooding in her garden from the mains outside her property. Again. For the 5th or 6th time in the last few years.
She follows the same procedure she normally does: inform Joburg Water and wait for someone to come and clear it. Later that day Joburg Water arrives: ‘sorry, we can’t do anything, we need to get Vumatel, we don’t want to break the fibre cables.’
Joburg Water phones Vumatel who arrives the next afternoon and says ‘it’s not ours’. The stinky stuff is still welling up in the resident’s garden. She sends a desperate appeal on whatsapp groups: ‘stop flushing!’ More inspection of the pipes – ah, the culprit is Link Africa. More frantic phone calls. Eventually later that afternoon, almost 36 hours later, Link Africa arrive with a high pressure truck and clear the blockage.
As the resident says: ‘Who thought it would be a good idea to place obstructions in the sewerage pipes?’
According to Greenside councillor Bridget Steer, the court agreed a while ago that telcom companies could use government infrastructure for their networks. This is apparently causing extreme difficulties for Joburg Water.
Joburg Water itself has a service level agreement that once the fibre company is notified they have 4-6 hours to come and clear. In this case Joburg Water had the incorrect fibre company on their list.
The resident is now armed with all relevant numbers and is prepared for next time just in case Joburg Water doesn’t come to the stinky party in time.
TIME FOR GIVING:
- Gum poles on east bank of the dam
The east bank of the dam has been a long-standing problem in the suburb. Fishermen come on Fridays, drive their cars over the pavement, set up camp and stay for the week-end. Despite being told that camping is not permitted, they keep setting up camp often next to bakkies that drive right over the pavement. There are no ablutions, fishermen tend to leave their hooks and bait lying around and you can imagine what else. Things can get quite unpleasant between the residents, other users of the dam like the canoeists and the visiting fishermen.
Felicity and Let’s Work have been working hard and appealing hard for funds to put in gum poles that will prevent cars/bakkies driving down to the water’s edge.
Finally an Emmarentia resident who owns Orejen in Linden has offered to sponsor the gum poles while ERA is to sponsor the cement up to the value of R10 000, Arno from ERA has drawn up the plan and Jonte the tree feller will oversee the Let’s Work team installing the poles. Big thanks to all for their assistance. Donations still needed to cover the balance of the cement and to Let’s Work to pay for their labour. (Felicity Gratz-Lawlor – 082 568 1783.
Let’s Work NPO# 201-696; FNB A/c 628 0129 9472; Your reference: gum poles
2. Refurbishing the Emmarentia Eventide Home
Many of you may remember the wonderful Christmas in July function ERA and Kindness like Confetti (KLC) held last year at the Salvation Army Eventide Home for the Aged in Emmarentia. Thanks to the generous support of the community it was a huge success.
We are once again appealing to residents and businesses to assist with a huge project KLC is now undertaking at the home to revamp the rooms and common spaces which are in dire need of a facelift.
- Input from designers and creatives.
- Bed linen, wall paint, lamps, paint, curtains, wall art, rugs and soft refurb items.
- Get a group of your friends together and sponsor the cost of redecorating one of the bedrooms;
- sponsor a room as part of a departmental CSI project at work;
For more info on this exciting project and ways for you to get involved, message KLC on 072 675 1536 or email email@example.com
YOUR HELP NEEDED – BECOME A CPF PATROLLER OR A TRAIL GUARDIAN:
- WANTED: Volunteer Parkview CPF patrollers
Parkview Community Policing Forum has been hard at work getting approval for CPF patrollers. Now they need volunteers to assist them.
What is a CPF?
A Community Police Forum (“CPF”) is a statutory body established in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the SAPS Interim Regulations and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act.
What are CPF patrollers?
CPF Patrollers are volunteers from the community.
What are requirements of CPF patrollers?
They need to:
- have their fingerprints taken by SAPS,
- wear an identification card,
- adhere to a code of conduct and
- adhere to all laws of the country.
What will CPF patrollers do?
- They will spend a certain number of hours in their cars, patrolling the streets as “eyes and ears” for SAPS.
- They go on patrols by reporting on and off duty at SAPS.
- The patroller co-ordinator assists with logistics and SAPS requirements.
- Patrollers will wear reflective jackets and use two-way radios to communicate with SAPS.
- Rights of individuals in SA’s Bill of Rights are to be respected at all times.
More info – please e-mail Geraldine Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. WANTED: Trail guardians for JOZI Trails
What is Jozi Trails?
Jozi Trails is a non-profit NGO that develops and maintains 37km of public trails and green space along the Braamfontein Spruit watercourse in Johannesburg. This includes Delta park.
What are Jozi Trails “trail guardians”
Endorsed by Joburg City Parks & Zoo, law enforcement authorities, CPFs and residents’ associations, Jozi Trails “Trail Guardians” will observe and report anything or anyone along the trail that looks suspicious so that local security service providers can come to check things out.
Who can volunteer?
- You must be over 18 years old.
- Any park user, walker, runner or cyclist can volunteer to be a Trail Guardian.
- You can volunteer to do one or more shifts during the week. You may want to volunteer as a group so that you can patrol with friends or family.
What will “Trail Guardians” do?
- Patrol the route from Conrad Drive to and around Delta Park. Patrols will happen twice a day, between 6h00 and 8h00 in the morning and between 16h00 and 18h00 in the afternoon.
- Report anything that needs checking out. The Trail Guardians have no authority to do anything else.
- Each group will have a MySOS panic button that allows them to instantly communicate with a central call centre that will dispatch the security company vehicle responsible for that section of the trail.
- The Trail Guardians will patrol in groups of 4 during those times. Two groups patrolling per shift are planned.
If you are interested, please fill in the form below and Jozi Trails will be in touch with more details. https://forms.gle/M6SjQkCtF3FEWBhc8. If you’d like more information, please contact Jozi Trails at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Linden Market 27-28 March Johannesburg Botanic Gardens, Emmarentia, 9.00am – 4.30pm
More details: https://thelindenmarket.com/
Melville Koppies Sunday mornings Park at Marks Park, 8h00-11h30. (self-guide yourselves—choose from 5km hike; 3km heritage trail or just walk along the many paths – www.mk.org.za )
- Proposed New Tariffs for 2021/2
New tariffs start on 1 July 2021. All increases do not include 15% VAT.
2. Property Rates
• +2% for all categories.
• 60-69 year old pensioner thresholds: under R10545/month = 100% rebate; R10545-18073 = 50% rebate.
• +6.8% for residential/business.
• Demand levy +6.8% to R28.32/month per dwelling for residential; R249.99 for businesses/institutions/mixed use per stand/erf.
• Institutional +8.9% for consumption up to 200Kl/month; +11.9% over 200Kl/month.
• Note – the above increases may change when Rand Water announces their new tariff.
• Increase of 6.8% across the board.
• +14.59% across the board (given Eskom increase of 15.09% & NERSA approval).
• Residential pre-paid block 1 (0-350kwh) increase will be +9.1% to cushion indigent households. To make up for this, block 2 (351-500kwh) will increase by 18.1%.
• Qualifying residential pre-paid customers can get a flat rate charge of R200 for 0-350Kwh if they get a 20A circuit breaker installed.
• New tariff for IPPs to supply customers in City Power areas.
• Network surcharge remains at 6c/Kwh.
• Residential pre-paid customers will be charged R200/month capacity charge; business pre-paid R400/month capacity charge.
6. Waste Management (Pikitup)
• +4.3% across the board.
• New recycling charge of R50 per household in “affluent areas” (ie not townships or informal areas).
• NOTE: Pikitup will be rolling out Separation @ Source throughout Jhb.
• Dishonored Payment R361.47.
• Delivery of Pre-termination Notice R276.20 giving 14 days notice.
• Delivery of Final Notice R183.67.
Claim from JRA if your car is damaged by a pothole
To file a claim against the City for accident caused by a pothole or damage to your car, follow these steps:
- Complete the standard Claim Form https://www.jra.org.za/documents/policies/REVISED_CLAIM.pdf
- Ensure that you submit all the required supporting documents
- Submit the claim together with the supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org or 75 Helen Joseph Street, Johannesburg. Telephone 011 491 5734/011 298 5168
(And if you are successful, please let us know – or put your success on Emmarentia’s whatsapp groups).
Want to receive this newsletter direct to your e-mail? – click here: https://era.org.za/subscribe/
If you are not yet a member of ERA, but want to join: Subscriptions for 2020/2021 are: R350 per annum per household (R200 for over 65s); R950 for businesses. Pay to: Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173; Branch Code: 198765. E-mail POP to: email@example.com
(Reference: surname and telephone number) together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form https://era.org.za/join-era/