Emmarentia Residents Association info@era.org.za (000) 111-1111

The Emmarentia Post, No 2, May 2021

Tribunal to continue in July

Complexity of case has already required four days of hearings

Since our last newsletter in March, two more meetings of the Tribunal were held (April and May) to decide the rezoning on Erven 1098 – 1104.

May hearing

At the May hearing, ‘we at last had “our day in court”’ says Gemey Abrahams, who holds ERA’s town planning portfolio.

Abrahams presented what ERA chair, Ayanda Mjekula, described as a ‘spirited and erudite presentation’ that was ‘emotional but highly professional’.

She took the Tribunal through her 13-page submission which detailed the complex history of the proposed development since 2014 including the submission of 2479 residents’ objections to the development.

Some residents braved the less than ideal conditions at the venue and presented in person and made passionate and clear pleas to the Tribunal explaining how the development will detrimentally affect them. 

Greenside Residents Association chair, Judith Ancer, outlined how the proposed development would have a negative impact on the Greenside commercial and retail sector.

Other objectors sent in additional submissions that were read out to the Tribunal. 

July hearing

The final day of hearing is scheduled in early July where our lawyers will complete all the legal arguments in support of our objection and the applicants’ advocate and legal team will close with their reasons for supporting the development. 

ERA and GRA will keep residents informed and provide feedback after the last day of hearing.

The Tribunal will then adjourn. It must consider all these inputs, along with the 2 479 submission made in November 2015, look at both sides, weigh up the facts and come to a decision, most likely later in July.

Cost

Taking part in the Tribunal entails huge costs. The cost of our lawyers and experts has climbed to almost R320 000 despite many experts offering us significant discounts on their services and several offering their services for free. ERA is very grateful for the excellent service they have given us.

A huge thanks to Emmarentia and Greenside residents who have generously donated almost R121 000.

So far the shortfall is being covered by ERA’s and GRA’s reserves which are fast becoming depleted. With no reserves, ERA and GRA will not able to be pro-active and act on other burning issues facing all of us in our suburb.

Appeal

We appeal to Emmarentia residents to either donate to ERA for the costs of the Tribunal, or, if you are not already an ERA member, to join us.

Special discounts available for a 2-year membership: R500 for 2021/22 and 2022/23. Rates for pensioners (R200 per annum) and businesses (R950 per annum) remain unchanged.

Banking details:

Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173; Branch Code: 198765. E-mail POP to: 

treasurer@era.org.za   
(Reference: surname and telephone number) together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form here:

https://era.org.za/join-era/

(If you are donating for the Tribunal costs, please change your reference to Tribunal)  

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House fires—be prepared!

In the past few months, two houses in the neighbouring suburbs of Linden and Parkview have been gutted by fire. Here are tips from Michael O’ Donovan, Ward 88 Committee:

  • Check your chimney before lighting the first fire of winter. (It’s suspected that the Linden fire was caused by a roof truss close to the chimney that caught alight. The house was destroyed in 20 minutes)
  • Do you have a fire extinguisher and does it work?
  • Do you know where your closest fire hydrant is (that works)?
  • Join your neighbourhood watch group and equip them with extinguishers, bolt cutters, fire axes etc.

Meanwhile Felicity Gratz-Lawlor reports that ex-Roosevelt Park Fire Chief will be running basic fire training. Connect here to find out more:

https://chat.whatsapp.com/FcH49LHpV3iHG2FM1HEoHV

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Briefs

·   Cemetery gets a clean-up

ERA recently organised for a clean of the Geldenhuys cemetery with the help of funds from the Geldenhuys family. Invasive alien plants like lantana, mulberries, privets, bugweeds were removed from inside and outside the cemetery so they don’t spread their seeds into your gardens.

When spring comes there’ll be more weeding to make sure that they don’t return. The cyprus trees that were planted when the cemetery was first established have been left untouched.

ERA is currently applying for a heritage plaque for the site and we hope to put up information boards and open the cemetery to visitors at a later stage.

Any ideas from residents on what to do with the space are most welcome or join our history sub-committee. 

·   Greenhill Shops and carguards

The majority of the shopkeepers attended the March meeting coordinated by ERA with SAPS/CPF Parkview, CAP and Felicity from Let’s Work. The meeting discussed how to increase security in the shopping district.

 Since then CAP has submitted two proposals – one that envisages CAP stepping up policing of the shopping strip and the other that relies on carguards working with CAP.

ERA will meet again with CAP and a representative of the shopowners on May 28 to understand the carguard proposal in more detail. Our other security project is to meet with Checkers. More in the next newsletter.

·   Controlling invasives in Emmarentia Park

ERA has been concerned by the rapid spreading of the water hyacinth in the top dam in Emmarentia which is threatening to cover the entire dam. 

According to City Parks, they are working with researchers at Rhodes University who are currently testing biological control of the weed.

We had hoped that the rehabilitation of the top two dams, including removal of all the invasive aliens, would start in the new financial year however Covid seems to have delayed the envisaged plan.

City Parks is also keeping an eye on the parrot feather (another invasive from South America) in the top dam and has introduced more beetles (with researchers monitoring) to biologically control the invasive.

Its team also successfully removed a very big patch of the invasive weed close to the entrance at Louw Geldenhuys. We will keep you posted.

ERA has a small environmental sub-committee that always welcomes new members – e-mail info@era.org.za

·   Beware in green spaces

The top end of Emmarentia park on the corner of Beyers Naude and Judith Road and near the scout hall below the dam wall seem to be two favourite spots for muggers.

Be careful – even when walkers were walking without cellphones and with 6 dogs, muggers, armed with knives/pistols, took rings and other jewellery. The worst times seem to be early in the morning and very late afternoon.

There is now a Ward 88 walk group. Meet at 4.30pm every afternoon in one of the suburbs covered by the Ward. Anyone can join the walk and at your own pace.

Security vehicles will be in attendance.

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Covid-19 – The science behind Covid vaccinations

If you are grappling with questions like:

  • Should I get a Covid-19 vaccine?
  • Do vaccines work?
  • What are the side effects and risks?
  • I’ve had Covid, do I need to be vaccinated?
  • How long before the vaccine gives me maximum immunity?

Read here for the answers from Johannesburg GP, Dr Sheri Fanaroff

https://www.iol.co.za/news/opinion/should-you-get-the-jab-doctor-tackles-frequently-asked-covid-19-vaccine-questions-73c7097f-ceab-4e47-b887-ac1d8e59ba51

·  Help those over 60 to register for Covid-19 vaccine

  • Register on the COVID Whatsapp number by sending “REGISTER” to 0600123456.
  • Register by SMS by dialling *134*832*your ID number#.
  • If you don’t have an ID number just dial *134*832#.
  • The services are zero rated and so you do not need data or airtime. 
  • You do not need a smartphone to be able to register by SMS.
  • If you encounter any issues whilst registering, you can call the COVID-19 hotline 0800 029 999.

Please help your helpers/gardeners who may be over 60 to get registered and vaccinated. Keep phoning Parkhurst Clinic (free) and Medicare Greenhill to find out when they will start vaccinating.

City News

* Debt relief to ratepayers suffering because of Covid-19

If you are a ratepayer and your municipal account is in arrears of more than 90 days as at 31 December 2020, you may be eligible for debt relief, available for a limited period only – cut off date 31 July.

The programme has recently been extended to benefit small businesses, places of worship and non-profit organizations with a gross revenue annual income of not more than R3 million.

Read the detailed terms and conditions to see if you are eligible: https://www.joburg.org.za/services_/Documents/2021%20Rebates/DR%20Form.pdf

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ERA makes great strides in getting infrastructure fixed 

Many thanks to those that heeded our call and have helped us to report water leaks, failure by JRA to reinstate etc. Please keep doing it to ensure that we receive the services that we pay for.

JRA

Frustrated with the failure of JRA to do reinstatements despite ERA’s, the ward committee’s and the councillor’s persistent requests, ERA finally submitted a letter to the ombud, setting out which reinstatements had not been done.

The ombud gave JRA 14 days to reinstate. This deadline expired on May 24 and as at that date, some had been completed: Louw Geldenhuys (2), Muirfield, Umtata.

But then another problem arose: they’d fixed the road but left all the rubble on the pavement. As this newsletter went to print, the councillor was putting pressure on JRA to remove the rubble so that pedestrians can walk safely on the pavement.

We will continue to put pressure on JRA to reinstate the remaining ones on Kei and upper Komatie.

Meanwhile JRA has filled in many reported potholes and has made a 4-way stop that was urgently needed on Komatie/Muirfield.

Please keep reporting to

Joburg Water

We are crossing fingers that in the new financial year that begins on 1 July 2021, 7590m of water pipes in Emmarentia will be replaced as per Joburg Water’s undertaking to us.

Please keep submitting water/sewerage leaks to

City Power

The transformer in the mini sub on Hill Road, corner Mazoe is still ‘running hot’ reports ERA’s infrastructure man, Arno Steinmuller. However, Arno reports that he’s had ‘a 100% success rate’ on other matters like ‘streetlights out’. ‘As long as they are not capital items’ like the transformer, they seem to get fixed, he says. However, much of the electricity infrastructure in the suburb is old and needs replacing and with load-shedding likely to increase as we head into winter, more old cables are likely to fail.

Felicity Gratz-Lawlor advises residents that when reporting outages ‘only log 1 call per house; if you log a second one you will be put to the bottom of the queue and if you log a third time, they cancel you.’ 

Please keep submitting streetlight problems, outages etc. on citypower.mobi

And if you’d like to take a more active role in monitoring the suburb’s infrastructure, let us know. We have a small group of people supporting Arno Steinmuller in this busy role.

Knowing our neighbours

There is one upside of infrastructure collapse and threats to our security: we are all finding out who our neighbours are, even if it’s virtually through whatsapp groups rather than talking through the fence. When some residents don’t have water or electricity, or there’s been a robbery, ‘knowing our neighbours have our backs is so important because this does not happen in every suburb’, one resident remarked on a whatsapp group recently.

If you’re new to the suburb and you’re not on a whatsapp group, speak to your neighbour(s) or find a list of some of the whatsapp groups here https://era.org.za/join-a-whatsapp-group-in-your-street/

(This newsletter was sent to the printer before the massive water outage caused by further power outages at the end of May and before the Hill/Mazoe mini-sub failed again leaving residents without power for more than 36 hours. Read more about the poor state of Joburg’s infrastructure here https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-05-30-city-of-gold-plunges-its-residents-into-darkness-1407-power-cuts-in-2021-and-thats-besides-load-shedding/  and here:

Thanks to Let’s Work for their hard work in our suburb

Due to generous donations from residents, Let’s Work managed to complete the gum pole project on the eastern bank of the dam without ERA’s donation. Many thanks to Let’s Work, Jonte, the tree feller who supervised the Let’s Work Team, Orejen who donated the gum poles, and other residents who donated the cement. Since the gum poles have been erected, ‘no fishermen have parked by the side of dam,’ says Felicity Gratz-Lawlor.

Please can residents try and keep their verges mown and gutters clear of grass so that stormwater can flow freely. If you can’t manage to do this, please contact Felicty Gratz-Lawlor at Let’s Work on 082 568 1783 and donate to Leet’s Work so that her team can do it for you.

Please keep donating to Let’s Work so her team can continue to cut firebreaks, clean the public toilets and the many other projects that they do in public spaces to benefit Emmarentia and Ward 88.

Let’s Work NPO# 201-696; FNB A/c 628 0129 9472; Ref: Emmarentia

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ERA needs you

Are you concerned about your safety, decaying and vandalised infrastructure, that the City may not be using your rates correctly? ERA will hold a virtual AGM on Wednesday 9 June 2021 at 18h30.

  • Share your concerns with us and your ideas to make our suburb better.
  • Come and help us develop a plan of action for the next year.

Join us on this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/97601874754?pwd=cG85akVrRHVHMnd6WGZhTERWSFFrZz09

‘People may not understand the value of a residents association until you are part of it. And then you see how much work is done to protect and improve the suburb.’ Judith Ancer, chairperson of the Greenside Residents Association

If you can’t make the zoom meeting, e-mail us your ideas to info@era.org.za before the meeting so we can raise them there.

Find reports of what we’ve done over the last year on

www.era.org.za

Pay your membership fees to:

Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173; Branch Code: 198765. E-mail POP to: 

treasurer@era.org.za   
(Reference: surname and telephone number) together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form https://era.org.za/join-era/  

NOTE: If you’re paying for Tribunal, reference= Tribunal

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Give ERA a few hours a month

Do you have two or more hours a month to give to ERA to help serve residents better? These are the areas where we are looking for volunteers. You are welcome to suggest other burning issues/areas that you are prepared to work on:

  • Infrastructure: help to report and monitor water/sewerage leaks, streetlights out, potholes etc; monitor mini-subs
  • Security: help us to keep our suburb safe
  • Admin/Secretary: attend virtual monthly Exco meetings (about 2 hours) and write up minutes
  • Website: upload newsletter and other important information to website
  • PR: anyone able to help us with PR?
  • Fund-raising:  need fresh ideas, big or small of how to raise funds for specific projects
  • Building and planning:  help to monitor land use, building renovations etc.
  • Green spaces and events: help us plan events to bring residents together and help to monitor and control outside events in the suburb (once Covid is under control)
  • Environment: help us work with City Parks to keep the park how we want it and other environmental issues
  • History: join the team that is starting to interview residents of Emmarentia to find out their history in the suburb: what they remember of the suburb when they first got here, how it’s changed, why they moved here etc. Help decide what to do with all the stories we collect. The team is also identifying heritage sites within the suburb and may begin to think of heritage tours.
  • Newsletter: help to put the newsletter together

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