Emmarentia Post, No 1, February 2022
ERA needs you
Emmarentia’s whatsapp groups are a good indication of residents’ sentiment. We know your deep frustration at all the infrastructure failures.
It’s easy for us to throw up our hands and give up. But other posts on our Whatsapp groups show that residents care deeply about our suburb and its inhabitants and want to resolve its problems.
There’s the Happy Feet example in this newsletter, the rallying by neighbours when a crisis hits a household, concern over the dams in the park and the Go2 initiative during Covid.
On Saturday February 26, ERA Exco members will be outside Checkers and Eastern Temptations from 10am to 1pm. Come and find out more about ERA, who we are and what we are trying to do. You’ll see there are not many of us; we desperately need your help. Come and chat to us. We hope you’ll find a way to join us. We know your help will make ERA more effective.
Mixed use development given go ahead
...But not quite as the developer wanted
WAY back in 2014, ERA became aware of a proposed 5-storey mixed use development (supermarket, shops, restaurants, office, banking and apartments) on seven sites in the triangle bordered by Barry Hertzog Ave, Gleneagles and Linden Roads.
Residents were alarmed. They felt the development was “not in keeping with the area,” says ERA’s town planning expert, Gemey Abrahams. They believed it was too high, too intense and would create traffic and service problems and the 5000m2 of non-residential use would negatively impact the existing shops in Greenside and Emmarentia. Moreover, it did not comply with Emmarentia’s Precinct Plan. All residents wanted to see medium-density residential development on the site.
Notwithstanding our concerns, the developer submitted a rezoning application in 2015. ERA and Greenside Residents Association (GRA) then called a further public meeting which resulted in 2479 people objecting to the proposed development.
After years of silence, the City gave notice that it would begin the Tribunal process to hear both sides in November 2020. ERA and GRA again called a public meeting where residents decided to engage specialist lawyers to represent their views. It was important to note that City Planning policies had changed in this time to support mixed use development and our Precinct Plan was deemed to be no longer applicable.
After an unprecedented eight separate days of hearings and almost eight years later, the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) has now approved the application in terms of Section 21 of the Municipal Planning Bylaws but not quite as the developer wanted.
What was approved
· Business 2 zoning with conditions to allow for offices and/or a medical day clinic
· Height of 5 storeys with 4 storeys adjacent to Erf 1132 (Emmarentia Palms townhouses), with floor height restrictions
· Planning rights for 55% coverage and 1,35 Floor Area Ratio;
· Maximum of 89 residential units and must include Inclusionary Housing: 20% of the total residential floor area must be made up of units that are 50% of the average size of the market units in the same development, with a maximum of 150m2 and a minimum of 18m2 per inclusionary housing unit. At least 30% of the total units in the development must be for inclusionary housing;
· Other conditions include: deliveries via the basement; visually permeablewalls around the development; pedestrian and vehicular access separate and water-permeable paving for the open parking; one tree per 3 parking bays.
What ERA and GRA won for residents
· The development will not be as high as originally proposed. (4-storeys next to Emmarentia Palms). The height of the 5-storeys must not exceed 21m and the height of the 4-storeys to not exceed 17m (similar to 3-storeys)
· The commercial component will be restricted to the ground floor.
· A private open space strip along the boundary with Emmarentia Palms 15m wide and 1 500m2 in area (effectively creating a 15m building line along this boundary).
· The building will be set back from Emmarentia Palms and land used as a park strip.
· The residential component must provide a range of housing accommodation; 30% must be affordable housing.
· The non-residential and residential rights are linked so the developer cannot develop only the shops and not the residential component.
· A new traffic study must be done, if the JRA requires it, so that more accurate traffic information is available.
· Deliveries to be underground at one entrance, not alongside the townhouses.
· Heritage authorisation shall be obtained prior to the submission of the Site Development Plan.
Importance of objecting
If ERA and GRA hadn’t engaged lawyers (at great expense) and other experts (some of whom gave their time freely) there is no doubt that the developer would have got exactly what he wanted.
Big thanks go to ERA’s Gemey Abrahams for leading the process for ERA and GRA and to ERA chair Ayanda Mjekula and GRA chair for providing ongoing support.
Tell us what to do
Abrahams urges residents to debate these questions:
· Should we appeal the Tribunal ruling? This would mean engaging lawyers again (probably in the order of R50 000) and is dependent on getting further donations from residents. The appeal must also be submitted within 28 days of the decision
· Should we rather fund-raise to prepare an updated Precinct Plan that “will mitigate the indiscriminate provisions of the General Urban Zone in our area,” says Abrahams. To do this, “ERA will need funding and volunteers from the community,” says Abrahams.
Let us know urgently what you think and if you are prepared to help. Send ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
For the more detailed story click here
Since being elected ward councillor for Ward 88, Nicolene Jonker has been run off her feet by service delivery failures and on Valentine’s night – four helicopters.
She urges residents to work with her to get service delivery back on track:
💦 To log all water and sewer related issues with *Joburg Water*
💡 To log an issue with *City Power*,
🍃 To log an issue with *City Parks*
📱 011 375 5555 or 0860 562 874
Fallen Tree? WhatsApp details with address & photo to 0828030748
🛣 To log a road or curb issue with *JRA*
If there is no action, and you want to escalate, please send this information to her:
▶️Photo if possible
Checkers and SAPS undertake to resolve problems in Emmarentia
Mazoe residents, ERA and Lets Work met in February with Checkers and SAPS and CPF Parkview to discuss the increasing number of vagrants on the corner of Komatie and Mazoe Roads, drinking in public on Luzi Lane, numerous cases of thefts of cellphones (both in and out of the store) and cars from the parking lot, the congestion caused by trucks at Checkers’ loading bay on Komatie Road and putrid waste-water released into Komatie Road.
Mazoe resident Hisham Bhamjee reported that one of the problems was that residents gave money or food to the beggars (in one instance R6000) and that this just fed their drug habits and encouraged them to return.
There were instances (also reported by shopkeepers) where those that had received the food or were hoping to receive it, (in one instance a mother with her small child next to her) were seen shooting themselves up with drugs.
Checkers branch manager, Justice Hlela, said many of the vagrants were aggressive and armed with knives and this made it difficult for Checkers to police them. In the past some had climbed over the wall and burnt their generator and bins.
Bhamjee and ERA plead with residents to rather redirect your money towards established charities that are doing good.
Checkers undertook to:
· Continue not to give out expired food to beggars
· put speedhumps and cameras at the entrances and exits to the parking lot
· approach the landlord to give some of the parking space to extend the loading bay so that the long delivery trucks can fit inside the loading bay, the gate locked and Komatie Road kept clear
· put barbed wire on the inside of the loading bay and cameras around the building
· Checkers will re-open its canteen now that Covid had subsided so that staff can eat their lunch inside the shop and not on the pavement.
Branch manager Justice Hlela reported that the sewerage problem is “90 per cent” complete. Old pipes had been replaced with new ones and the waste-water had been redirected into the sewer line. ERA will continue to monitor.
Checkers will keep ERA informed of time-lines on undertakings.
SAPS undertook to:
· Do a weekly arrest of those drinking in public
· Investigate the drug dealing/drug usage reports
· CPF to monitor SAPS.
Is your home business operating within the law?
Covid-19 has impacted many economically and made our homes a work site as well. But are you operating within the by-laws?
This article spells out town-planning by-laws set out in the Land Use Scheme for a property zoned Residential 1 (most houses in Emmarentia) but remember there may be other health and safety, heritage, building by-laws that also apply.
Conditions that apply
If you want to operate a business from home:
· YOU MUST permanently reside at the property,
· YOU CAN use up to 25% or a maximum of 50m2 of the area of your house for this purpose
· YOU MAY EMPLOY not more than 2 other persons (not members of the household who permanently live there)
· YOU are responsible for maintenance of the entire property.
The business MUST NOT:
· cause noise, smell, dust, pollution, parking, loading and off-loading and extra traffic and the assembly of workers which may impact on neighbours.
The business CANNOT:
· interfere with the amenities of the neighbourhood
· negatively impact the infrastructure services greater than that required for domestic, home use.
· store anything the Council considers unsightly or undesirable or that is a risk to the safety and security of residents.
YOU MAY NOT use your dwelling house/unit for these types of businesses:
· a public garage, motor sales, motor workshop, heavy mechanical repairs (e.g. grinding, welding, sanding, etc.), car wash, industrial / commercial purposes, noxious industries, scrap yard, spray painting, panel beating, shop (retail outlet), spaza / house shop, tavern / shebeen, restaurant, coffee shop, tea garden, place of amusement, place of instruction, institution, guest house, bed and breakfast, boarding house, commune, hotel, funeral parlour, undertaker, pet salon or any such other uses as the Council may determine.
Click here to download the full By-law .
Any queries, contact email@example.com
CPF needs your input
Parkview CPF chair, Geraldine Connell, reports that it has restarted the broader community meetings where SAPS is also present. These take place on Zoom every second month.
She urges residents to take part in their regular virtual meetings that will take place every two months at 18h00. Find out when, including the Zoom link here
Connell reports that the CPF has been extremely active in 2022.
· The CPF now has a much better idea of the reported crime in the precinct, the workings of SAPS and the relationship with SAPS staff is also improving after SAPS stations were instructed to allow CPF EXCO members to attend their Station Crime Combatting Forum meetings which take place three times a week.
· The vetted and trained CPF Patrollers have begun patrolling the precinct. More training and finger-printing opportunities for the other patrollers to happen soon.
· The social crime prevention sub-forum is extremely active together with Sergeant Phoko and the Victim Support Unit. There will be monthly awareness-raising events at shopping centres and in the parks, four more Tea with Retirees events, as well as monthly school visits.
· The CPF is pursuing its intention to have a town hall meeting with the City of Johannesburg officials about the burgeoning number of illegal occupants in open spaces. All affected and interested parties will be invited to attend this meeting.
The requests that the CPF emailed to the Councillors of the Wards within the Parkview precinct were responded to by the new MMC: Community Development – Ronald Harris. He facilitated contact with the Region B Director – Mohau Ntheli – whose office has agreed to arrange the meeting.
Details will be supplied to ERA as soon as they are known.
Find out more
Thanks to Happy Feet
For the past two years, members of the Happy Feet Running Club in Emmarentia have vowed to keep “Emmarentia bridge as beautiful as Sea Point,” says Ahmed, one of the members.
With money collected from members they pay a team to regularly clean up.
Contact 076 44 11 873 to find out more or to join the club.
Thanks to Let’s Work
Keep donating to Let’s Work so the team can continue to cut and clear mini sub stations, clean verges and the many other projects that they do to benefit Emmarentia and Ward 88.
Gleneagles mini-sub – before and after its makeover
BE WARNED: No cutting of trees on pavement
A resident was just fined R155 000 for cutting down four trees on their pavement. If you want your pavement trees trimmed, make sure you contact City Parks (see above) and if no response, escalate to Councillor Jonker.
Recognise these plants?
Be careful—you could be harbouring an invasive alien plant (IAP) like the Bugweed (can grow into a tall tree) and Lantana (also has orange flowers) in your garden or on your pavement. Producing prolific berries which birds love, they soon spread, crowding out local species.
Check here to find a full list of IAPs including ones you must remove from your garden.
Covid-19 fear recedes
We were heartened by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement in his February 10 SONA speech that government intends ending the national state of disaster soon.
In the meantime he urged everyone to get vaccinated. Booster shots are now available: Pfizer—6 months after your last shot; J&J—2 months after your last shot.
Get one at Parkhurst Clinic, Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and Hillbrow Clinic for free or visit one of the many private vaccination sites.
How to deal with Omicron
For useful advice from Joburg GP, Dr Sheri Fanaroff on living with Omicron, isolation (including for those that are asymptomatic), quarantine – when you can send your child back to school – masks; sanitising and distancing; social interactions; school and work; vaccines; new variants and other useful advice click here:
This is an old photograph taken by photographer Ken Bath when he lived in Emmarentia. See here for more.
Taken from the family’s back fence in Rustenburg Road (now Barry Hertzog) looking to Northcliff Hill.
Emmarentia is still to be built. The old Louw Geldenhuys farm dam and one of the farmhouses visible close by.
If anyone has old photographs to share, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not yet a member of ERA, join now! Subscriptions for 2022/23 remain the same until 31 March 2022 after which they will increase:
· R350 per annum per household
· R200 for over 65s
· R950 for businesses.
Pay to: Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173;