Emmarentia Post, No 2, June 2022
Checkers acts on ERA and residents’ complaints
FROM October 2021, vigilant residents on Komatie Road began to document and complain to Checkers of sewerage leakages emanating from its loading zone. The sewerage would wash down Komatie Road, onto The Braids and into the stormwater drain leading to Emmarentia Dam, leaving a terrible stink.
Early this year the number of leakages intensified. ERA and residents were rightly alarmed of the dangers of raw sewerage contaminating Checkers’ food as it was being offloaded as well as the risk of people coming into contact with it along its path to the dam. Dam users themselves, like canoeists and fishermen also risked being harmed.
On March 11, three Komatie Road residents met with the acting branch manager and gave Checkers 7 days to sort out its mess. On March 14, after confirming with the three residents, ERA wrote to Checkers reiterating the Komatie residents’ demands and demanding to know what plans Checkers had to resolve the problem. ERA also copied in both the department of health and Councillor Jonker. The department of health confirmed that they would monitor the situation.
When there was no response from Checkers, Komatie resident, Glynis Cohen, who is also a lawyer, offered to act pro bono on behalf of ERA and submit to Checkers a formal Letter of demand.
Only then did Checkers act. Work was planned for the Easter weekend but because of heavy rain, it was done subsequently. So far there have been no further leakages, but Checkers be warned – ERA with residents are keeping a watchful eye on the situation.
Meanwhile, branch manager, Justice Hlela, reports that complaints ERA took up with Checkers in February this year about the blocking of Komatie Road by huge delivery trucks, could soon be a thing of the past. Checkers will extend the loading area into the existing parking area. “We just received a quotation for the wall and to extend the gate….. by next week or so the contractor will start with their work,” says Hlela.
Come and meet ERA
At the end of February, some of ERA’s Exco members sat outside Eastern Temptations (thank you to Uncle Solly for giving us the space !) to answer questions about ERA and encourage more residents to join.
We were planning another meeting outside Checkers on 4 June. Unfortunately, our busy Exco members are no longer able to be there but we will have another one soon. You can e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org – tell us what we should be doing for the suburb; ask us why you should join ERA. Let’s see how we can work together more effectively.
Dam upgrades imminent?
Many CoJ projects were delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. One such project is the remediation of two earthen wall dams (known as the Van Riebeeck dams) in the dog-walking section of the Jhb botanical gardens which should have been carried out in 2021.
It’s hoped that work on these two dams will start soon. Extensive work will be carried out including removing the invasive alien plants like water lilies, reeds, water hyacinth, pickerel weed and yellow flag irises.
Both dam walls will be raised a little. The outflow of the top dam will be moved to the western side to allow for aquatic animals like frogs to move more easily between the two dams. The eastern outflow of the top dam will be blocked off.
The reeds that have undermined the outflow of the middle dam will be removed and the outflow renovated.
A new bridge across the outflow and wetland on the eastern side of the middle dam will be built.
Contractors will have to cordon off huge sections of the park during the construction process and it won’t be possible to access all areas that we are used to using. We will give more details as and when we know.
Hope for the Botanical Gardens fountain
You might have noticed a big trench and construction work around the middle dam in the dog-walking section of the park. Last year thieves vandalised the pump, dug a huge trench from the water pump on the middle dam up to the reservoir and stole the cables.
After receiving an insurance payout, the Botanical Gardens is now doing its best to prevent a repeat.
“We boxed the new cable in concrete to prevent theft again,” says Botanical Gardens manager, Sandra Viljoen. A box has been built “around the sump to secure the pump – you will need a crane to lift the concrete lid to get to the pump!”
Once the plastic pipes that were damaged are fixed as well as two leaks, then the reservoir will be filled and the water features will work again.
Emmarentia dam – then and now
The photo below was taken in the 1960s when there would have been a big sign saying ‘Whites only’. Happily now it’s open to everyone to enjoy.
The photo below is a recent photo taken by Westdene resident and regular visitor to the dam, Mooniba Bhyat. Thank you.
Birding in Emmarentia!
Did you know that there is an active online birdwatching community in our hood? Did you know that they routinely record more than 50 species a month and have since inception recorded over 100 species. They also share relevant local bird-related pictures and stories. If you want to join e-mail email@example.com
ERA increases cost for building plans
endorsement and heritage letters
ERA undertakes two important functions for residents wanting to upgrade their homes. All properties in Emmarentia have conditions in their title deeds that require your building plans to first be endorsed by the original township owner, the Lourens Geldenhuys Family.
ERA acts on their behalf for your convenience. The City of Johannesburg will not approve your building plans without this endorsement.
Discount for ERA members
ERA last increased the fees in 2019. The new fees from June 1 2022, provide for a 5% discount for residents who are members of ERA. Here is the link to the new schedule of fees https://era.org.za/new-era-fees-for-heritage-assessments-and-letter-and-endorsement-of-building-plans-on-behalf-of-the-lourens-geldenhuys-family/
Click here to find out how to join ERA so you can get those discounts – https://era.org.za/join-era/
Getting heritage approval
The second function ERA performs is to facilitate the approval of your building plans with the Provincial Heritage Resources Agency (PHRAG) if your house if over 60 years’ old (most properties in Emmarentia fall into this category now). By providing you with a letter outlining the history of your home and providing a recommendation to the PHRAG, the process is more streamlined. The new fee for this letter has now also been linked to membership where an ERA member will get R300 off the new fees. Go to the link given above to see these fees.
ERA urges all residents to contact ERA before finalising your building plans as we also give advice on the process and can help iron out problems early, saving you time and money and ensuring compliance.
Interesting Heritage Fact
Through owners having to get heritage approval, the early history of Emmarentia is revealing itself.
Just this week we found a house built in 1937 which must be one of the very oldest in Emmarentia, because the township was only proclaimed in 1937. The house is on Barry Hertzog Avenue which was then called Main Rustenburg Road. The house had modernist influences and one of the renovations was done by a well-known architectural firm from the 1930s.
Planning regulations require that what is built on the ground matches what is on the approved plans. If you intend selling your property, you cannot do so without approved plans. This can delay your sale if your plans are not up to date. Your buyers will not be able to secure a mortgage for the property without approved plans.
When purchasing a property in Emmarentia please ask the Estate Agent to show you approved plans of the house (and check that they match what is on the ground) before purchasing.
Any queries e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Joburg bylaws on working from home
Our February newsletter gave a short briefing on the laws that govern working from home. ERA’s Gemey Abrahams has now put together a comprehensive document outlining the laws that apply and what you must do to remain compliant.
- Debt relief?
Have you fallen behind with your payments to the City? You may be covered by the City’s Debt Relief measures.
Check here to see if you are covered:
· Has the City valued your property correctly?
You have until 24 June 2022 to object to the City’s valuation of your property. Your rates are calculated from this. Check here https://eservices.joburg.org.za/Pages/GeneralValuations.aspx and if you disagree, request forms from email@example.com and then submit your objection to them.
More information contact Tel. 011 407-6622 or 011 407-6597
· Have your say on outdoor advertising
You have until 12 July 2022 to comment on the City’s new proposals for outdoor advertising.
Find the document here:
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
New councillor Nicolene Jonker is being run off her feet as loadshedding continues to ravage old infrastructure. She appeals to affected individuals to report their outage first on citypower.mobi If there is no response after 3 hours, escalate to her with your name; address; date logged; time logged; ref no; short description and photo if possible.
Check here https://era.org.za/2022/02/17/emmarentia-post-no-1-february-2022/ for details of who to report other types of outages e.g. water, trees fallen down etc.
Meanwhile ERA attended a meeting hosted by Cllr Jonker together with City Power. City Power spoke of vandals interfering with infrastructure during load shedding without risk of being electrocuted and of ongoing theft and destruction of infrastructure.
Please contact City Power’s dedicated control room to report any irregular events (e.g. tampering, theft, vandalism etc.) at TSS (Transformer Substations) and MSS (Mini-Substations). Phone 011 490 7911/7900/7553; follow up on WhatsApp 083 579 4497.
Contacts for Councillor Nicolene Jonker: Cell: 063 479 4234
CPF encouraged by drop in crime in precinct
“Crime in the precinct is dropping,” says Parkview CPF chairperson, Geraldine Connell. This is because of “the passionate and hands-on leadership of Visible Policing Commander Lt-Col Mokwena and Captain Augustus,” she says.
At the recent Parkview CPF meeting on May 11, representatives from the Liquor Forum, several security companies and Residents’ Associations all applauded their efforts. CPF meetings with stakeholders will now take place weekly after an instruction from the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner.
The May meeting sought “to identify and address crime in the precinct and to get feedback from community leaders on how to curb crime in it,” says Connell.
Operational Commander Captain Augustus encouraged all informal patroller groups to sign up as patrollers under the officially endorsed “Community in Blue” CPF patroller scheme. Anyone wanting to join, register by using the following link: https://form.typeform.com/to/Urb6TAtz
Meanwhile the CPF held a fingerprinting and training session for patrollers at SAPS on Saturday May 14 and will schedule more of these as more patrollers join the CPF patrollers. E-mail email@example.com to join or find out more.
PLEASE NOTE: The landline telephones at many SAPS stations are still down due to the negotiation of a new contract. In the meantime, call the Relief Commander on: 071 675 6065 or 10111 – a reference number is given and vehicles are dispatched to where they are needed.
The Emmarentia Post is published 5-6 times a year by the Emmarentia Residents Association. It is published online on ERA’s website, on Emmarentia WhatsApp groups and printed and distributed to every household and business in Emmarentia. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to advertise or sponsor the printed newsletter.