The Emmarentia Post, No 3, August 2022
The Official Publication of the Emmarentia Residents’ Association
Message from ERA chairperson to ERA AGM – Let’s fix this broken country together
Our country is broken. Our roads, railways, water, power infrastructure etc. are crumbling. We all need to be active citizens to fix this broken country.
This past year, residents have helped ERA put pressure on Checkers to stop its sewerage leaking into Emmarentia Dam. In 2021 ERA made submissions to the City’s IDP process. Joburg Water agreed to a project to replace very old water pipes in the suburb.
We are worried by Telkom’s wish to install a giant 20m 5G mast in a resident’s front garden in Marico Road. ERA gave the neighbours of the property our support to resist this. Telkom must now reapply to the City for permission. Support us in ensuring that the City consults with us.
Does crime give you sleepless nights? Link up with the effective security initiatives in the suburb and the precinct.
Do you worry about the problem of the homeless who are living in green spaces and with government seemingly having no solution?
Are you concerned with the ever-increasing annual CoJ tariffs?
Join us, it’s time to get this broken society working again; let’s fix it together.
ERA chairperson, Ayanda Mjekula
Read all AGM docs here: https://era.org.za/2022/07/27/era-annual-general-meeting-10-august-2022-18h30-marks-park/ e-mail us on email@example.com
Emmarentia residents listen to ERA chairperson, Ayanda Mjekula, at ERA’s August AGM
What can you do to fix our broken country:
- Join ERA https://era.org.za/join-era/ and get active in one of our portfolios
- Volunteer to be ERA’s security representative and attend regular Parkview CPF meetings
- Join the community patrollers under the auspices of the CPF. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Volunteer for the SAPS Parkview Victim Support Unit (VSU) and support those who are victims of trauma-More info VSU: 073–280–4453
- Be an active citizen: Report streetlights out of order/potholes/water leaks/illegal signs/illegal building/land invasion/cable theft/tampering of electricity infrastructure etc. etc. Get references and escalate to Cllr Nicolene Jonker (check here for details of how to report https://era.org.za/report-outages-and-follow-up-with-cllr-jonker/ Remember any wasted water is paid for by us.
- Watch out for white A3 notices stuck to the gates of a property that talk about proposed demolition of a property or a change in the property zoning. If you are in doubt, e-mail email@example.com
- Help those that may have suicidal thoughts (it could even be you); put them in touch with those that can help them
Events… how do you feel?
We are lucky to live in a green belt with a huge park which people from across Joburg use, and to have Marks Park sports club that has many facilities available to users across Joburg. But… it does mean that on certain days of the year, residents are inconvenienced when big events happen.
Joburg Botanic Gardens restricts its big concerts to four per year (we’ve had all 4 for 2022). Marks Park has no such restrictions, but its events are smaller.
After the recent concerts and the Women’s Day race, which ERA was notified of about 10 days beforehand, residents sent in numerous complaints. Councillor Steer likewise received complaints from Greenside residents and wrote to the City to ask if RAs and councillors could meet with the City to discuss how to have more say in events. We are still awaiting a response but in the meantime, please feel free to write and tell us how we can manage these events better so that we can tell them your views:
These were the kinds of complaints we received:
- Liefde by die Dam music was way too loud and over the sound limit
- At the Women’s Day race, gazebos with loud music were too close to the mosque, and was insensitive to religious rituals that were happening in the mosque
- Race-goers parked across driveways and three abreast on Hill Road and totally jammed up traffic
- Shops complained that racegoers parked their cars in the available shopping spaces and prevented shoppers from visiting their shops etc. etc.
Are there other problems you experienced? What solutions do you suggest for the problems that you have identified.
We’d like to hear all views, negative and positive, so that we can put a balanced perspective to the City. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
New broom sweeps briskly at SAPS Parkview
News reports are full of the increases in various crimes. It’s easy to block our ears, sell up and move or just give up.
But wait… there is some positive news.
Geraldine Connell, Parkview CPF chairperson, told ERA’s AGM that the new SAPS leadership at Parkview under Colonel Govender, are “very alert, very dedicated and prepared to go the extra mile” and that she was having to run to keep up.
Although crime appeared to be worse “than it was this time last year,” she said, it is “under control”.
She appealed to more residents to join the community patrollers. 80 people had signed up, 40 had been fingerprinted and 10-15 now go on patrols regularly. “We are looking for more people to go on patrols,” she said. Anyone interested please email email@example.com
Key issues of concern
There were four issues in the area which were of most concern to SAPS and the CPF she said:
- Illegal occupants of state land, especially in the open spaces e.g. under the bridge on Emmarentia Dam, along the spruit and in Keith Fleming Park near Virgin Active. The CPF was waiting for the mayor to set up a public meeting to discuss the problem. Connell explained that in terms of the law, the entity owning the land on which there were illegal occupiers first needed to get a court order and find those people alternative accommodation before they could be moved off. Keep your eyes open for this public meeting.
- A house on John MacKenzie Road where many people are living on the property. The electricity and the water has already been disconnected.
- SAPS and the CPF have their eyes on illegal activities taking place on the corner of Olifants and 5th Avenue.
- Big events that take place in Marks Park and Jhb Botanic Gardens. Two vehicles were stolen at recent events.
Suicide on the rise… GET HELP!
On the day that you read this news- letter, 23 people will have committed suicide and another 10 will have tried to across the country.
SAPS requested the Parkview CPF to inform the community about the warning signs of people wanting to commit suicide:
- thinking about or idealising the act of suicide
- giving away cherished belongings
- sleeping too much/too little
- withdrawing and/or isolating yourself and no longer talking about things
- fluctuating between extremes of emotional states unlike normal
- taking uncharacteristically risky actions/making concerning comments.
If you, or someone you know, experience any of these thoughts, GET HELP.
Call the SA Depression and Anxiety Group on their 24-hour hotline on 0800 567 567.
Alternatively contact a counsellor on 011 234-4837 or the Victim Support Unit at the Parkview SAPS on 073 280-4453.
- Dam upgrades
With winter almost over, it’s looking like these upgrades will only start in 2023.
- Botanical Gardens Fountain – work in progress.
Traffic problems on Judith/Barry Hertzog
Two Emmarentia residents have complained about the intersection of Judith with Barry Hertzog:
· It is very difficult for drivers entering and exiting their properties on Judith Road because there is never a gap between cars and drivers are not courteous. The Niger Road boom has intensified this problem.
· Drivers are disregarding the red light and continue going north on Barry Hertzog because it is green for those turning left and disregard those coming south who want to turn right onto Judith Road.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any traffic problems you want ERA to take up. The more voices, the louder the noise we can make.
Grappling with the problems of the homeless in green spaces
THE City of Joburg has admitted that it has a housing backlog of 500 000 units which would take it 100 years to deal with.
This makes resolving the issue of the numerous people living illegally in green spaces even more difficult because legally you cannot move them unless alternative accommodation is provided.
ERA invited representatives from two different initiatives that are trying to tackle the problem of homelessness to speak to ERA’s AGM in August.
Friends of Albert’s Farm Committee (FOAFC) chair, Colleen Rood, spoke of how FOAFC had tried to remove those living in the park previously and had found that “you can’t just destroy people’s belongings and homes and expect them to respect you.”
Now they are working with Mary Gillett de Klerk from Joburg Organisation for Services to the Homeless (JOSH) and with government to try and find a long-term solution.
Reasons for homelessness
According to De Klerk, more than 90% of those that are homeless are South African citizens. Various reasons lead to people ending up homeless:
- a disaster like a flood, a fire etc.
- migrants come from Eastern Cape, KZN and other provinces to Gauteng to find a job, then lose their job and have no money to go home
- rough sleepers have 1 or 2 jobs a week but don’t earn enough to get transport home to where they live
- recyclers have an income but need to sleep where they can collect and store their goods safely
- many have experienced family breakdowns because of gender-based violence or substance abuse
- are chronically homeless with undiagnosed mental illnesses and have been poorly treated by their families.
Supporting the homeless
JOSH and FOAFC have set up a once a week drop-in day centre in Albert’s Farm with a social worker and an overnight safe space.
The social worker assesses the skills that people already have, tries and mends broken family relationships and reconnects them where possible and tries to put those with mental problems in touch with those that can help them.
JOSH plans to work with government to set up many more centres like this that will also offer showers, safe spaces and skills development programmes.
Michelle Wecke from Ward 88 told the AGM of NPO Let’s Work’s approach to those living illegally in our green spaces. The bulk of them are recyclers. Shelters provide no safe space to store their recycling material nor do the shelter’s rules fit with their way of living. Some are undocumented foreigners and shelters are not open to them.
Recyclers are also under threat from criminals who are not averse to stealing the recyclers’ materials that they have worked hard to collect.
Let’s Work’s approach is to give them a ‘hands up’ not a ‘handout’ and had so far helped 250 previously homeless get back on their feet; some have been reunited with family while others have been reintegrated into society.
Watch this space.
Homeless living on the old Parkhurst Bowling Club—a solution in sight?
COUNCILLOR Tim Truluck has announced the City has a possible solution to the problematic land opposite Pikitup garden refuse centre and the Wastepreneurs recycling centre. ‘
For many years now the number of people living illegally on this land that once housed the Parkhurst Bowling Club, has mushroomed and residents have expressed alarm at the crime threat and threat to their property prices.
Truluck said that in terms of a new proposal, the land could revert back to the City’s Sport and Recreation department. RCD ESPANYOL de BARCELONA ACADEMY has indicated that it would be prepared to lease the land from the City for a period of 3-5 years and turn it in to an international football academy by 2023. However, this plan will only succeed if alternative accommodation is found for all the current illegal occupants.
The CPF will hold a public meeting on 15 September at 10h00 at Marks Park to discuss the vexing issue of alternative accommodation for those currently living there illegally. All welcome. More details, contact email@example.com
Preserving the heritage of Emmarentia’s old houses
Almost all houses in Emmarentia are over 60 years of age because the township was laid down in 1938. This means that any alterations, additions or demolitions must get heritage approval from heritage authorities before they can go ahead.
Gemey Abrahams does this work in Emmarentia and as a result of the many applications that are coming forward, she has come to appreciate what heritage means in the case of houses in the suburb.
The recent approval of the 5-storey mixed use development opposite Doppio Zero will result in the demolition of seven different houses.
Visiting all of these houses and examining them inside and out Gemey came up with a number of recommendations on what the developer should somehow retain in the future development. She mentioned common things across almost all these seven houses which are also reflected across many homes in the rest of Emmarentia like:
- herring bone parquet flooring
- slate, slasto and stone accents used in the original houses and garden
- wood panelling, wooden beams, wooden doors and jams
- and yellow and dark face brick
You can see all of her recommendations and the full report here https://era.org.za/2022/08/22/era-submits-report-on-heritage-value-of-mixed-use-development-properties/
Blue plaques have been given to Frans Geldenhuys’s old farmhouse at Marks Park and to Marks Parks Sports Club.
Frans Geldenhuys lived on the farm Braamfontein with his brother Louw from the 1800s. The farm stretched from Albertina Sisulu St (Market St) in town to Delta Park and east to Rosebank. Frans built his home in what is now the Marks Park Pavilion in the late 1800s. The Geldenhuys family gave 13 hectares to the City in 1900. In 1951 it became a municipal sports club, Marks Park.
City’s nodal review policy… more density in the suburb?
Despite Emmarentia having its own precinct plan (PP) that provides a guideline as to usage of existing land, current town planning legislation says that “any PP over five years old is redundant and that the nodal review stands in its place,” ERA’s Gemey Abrahams told ERA’s recent AGM.
The City’s nodal review policy divides up the whole of Joburg into nodes or development zones. Half of Emmarentia is classified as a General Urban Zone (GUZ) (the creamy-yellow patches in the diagram on the right) while the other half is classified as Suburban Zone (the grey areas). Suburban zones are “Medium to low density residential areas”. Check www.bit.ly/nodal-council
If your property falls in a GUZ, a density of 60 dwelling units/hectare is allowed; the City could approve a development of 5-storeys on this land. And mixed-use developments, such as the one recently approved below the Shell garage, will also be allowed. Any proposed development must get the neighbouring properties to sign off on it.
If you are concerned about a new proposed development near you, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on ERA: