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

The Emmarentia Post, No 11, 5 October 2020

Come to the ERA AGM

Worried about the possible dangers of having an indoor AGM, given the rise in Covid-19 cases, we canvassed our paid-up members to find out what they would prefer. The vast majority were in favour of a virtual AGM. We will go ahead with the AGM on the same date and the same time as advertised – 14 October 2020 at 18h30 for 19h00.

Please e-mail info@era.org.za for the link or look on our website – www.era.org.za We look forward to seeing you all there virtually.   

Portfolios

Currently we have 10 portfolios, Chairperson, Vice chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Communication, Green spaces and events, Infrastructure, Newsletter, Security, Town planning, building plans, heritage. We also have Exco members who give general support to the team. Two sub-committees deal with the environment and history.

The Secretary portfolio is currently vacant.

Sadly Anne Askew, who has held the Green Spaces and Events portfolio for many, many years has said she will tender her resignation at the upcoming AGM.

Thank you

Anne has provided wise counsel and has diligently served the ERA and Emmarentia community for more than 20 years.

During her time she has served as an Exco member, a chairperson and for many years has headed up the Green Spaces portfolio. Never shying away from hard work, her style of being forthright but gentle, will be sorely missed.

ERA and the wider community, wish her a restful break.

Why you don’t want to miss the AGM—ERA Chair, Ayanda Mjekula

Join us as we share with you our strategic plans to invigorate ERA and make sure that it is relevant and responsive to residents’ concerns.

We know that security and safety are a major concern to every resident. ERA believes that safety starts with knowing each other. So come and contribute to our plans for events to ‘Get to know you’ or suggest any activity that may enhance this goal.

Displaced or homeless people and vagrants are an on-going threat to our safety. Come and understand what we are doing and can do to limit pervasive risk.

Come and understand how you can join our fight to prevent arbitrary or illegal installation of cellphone masts in your streets… even in your front-yard. Together we can put a stop to this decimation of house values.

Have you seen the incipient densification within our precinct? Join our efforts to limit this phenomenon to what is legal.

Are you fed up with poorly controlled events happening in Emmarentia? Come give us your thoughts as to how we can collectively develop plans to exercise maximum control.

The infrastructure around us is ageing and crumbling. Unless we show a united front we will fail to prevail on the COJ to pay urgent attention to what have been too frequent breakdowns.

We need your input and involvement so we can represent you better.

Read the minutes from the last AGM here:

What is the role of ERA?

In the February 2020 newsletter we reported on ERA Exco’s strategy session early this year that grappled with this question. With the AGM coming up, we thought it’s worth repeating this story.

We don’t want to ‘be sleepy and unrecognisable’, nor  ‘wishy-washy and reactive’ current ERA chair, Ayanda  Mjekula urged the committee. ‘We’ve got to be visible’.

The other key question Exco members asked themselves was: What do you as residents need from ERA? These are the ideas we came up with.

You want to:

· feel secure;

· be kept informed of what is going on in the suburb;

· see the value of your property maintained;

· ensure that planning and building regulations are followed;

· feel you are part of a community;

· feel ERA is doing all in its power to make local government account, particularly around infrastructure/services.

Other views

Councillor David Hensman believes that knowing your neighbour and through that creating social cohesion is a good deterrent against crime and is something that RAs should focus on.

RAs, he says, ‘should be communicating realism’ to residents on what the City can do with its limited budget.

Our ward has a low unemployment rate (4% in 2016) but neighbouring wards with suburbs like Bosmont, Westbury and Riverlea, have unemployment rates of more than 40% and likely to be higher now because of Covid-19.

RAs should get residents involved in ‘adopting a park, joining the Emmarentia/Greenside community patrollers, volunteering for the Parkview victim support group or joining street whatsapp groups’ he says.

Felicity Gratz-Lawlor, the Let’s Work team initiator and coordinator, is also on the Ward committee and is visibly active on whatsapp groups helping resolve residents’ electricity, water and streetlight problems. With Felicity there, is there still a role for RAs?

‘Yes’ she says. RAs must assist by ‘putting pressure on the City to get things done’. The City, she believes ‘is more interested in residents than ward councillors’. It can ignore the ward councillor but it can’t ignore a RA that has the backing of residents.

Challenges

But there’s the difficulty. As ERA we try to represent residents the best we can. But the Exco is less than 10 people. Most of us have full-time jobs. Only a few residents attend ERA public meetings, only about 10% of residents have signed up as members. It is difficult for us to know what you want.

Come to the ERA AGM. All are welcome—you don’t have to be a home owner, you just have to live in the suburb and you can join at the door. If you’re not sure if you want to join, just come and listen and have your say and help us develop a plan around what still needs to be done.

And if you can’t make it, e-mail us with your ideas on info@era.org.za

Pool invasion!

What happens when an Egyptian goose couple take over your owl box, produce goslings and start eyeing your swimming pool as their own water space?

You put a desperate plea for help on one of Emmarentia’s very resourceful WhatsApp groups and on WhatsApp advice you gather your own family together, shepherd the goose family out your gate and down the road to the dam.

“My kids had so much fun,” was the resident’s response and the gosling parents wisely guided their offspring to the protected area of the dam.

Let’s Work and Angi’s Dance Studio do us proud

On Heritage Day Let’s Work and Angi’s Dance Studio joined hands to produce a very slick Jerusalema.

The professional performance was a result of hours of practising. The Let’s Work team had been polishing their moves every morning and one day were joined by Pikitup workers.

Likewise Angi trained young dancers from her studio and also spent some time guiding not such young residents from Rose Village through the steps.

On Heritage Day the dance began at Emmarentia Park and then moved to Rose Village where young and old danced happily and then braaied.

Huge thanks go to Let’s Work, Angi’s Dance Studio and Eugene from City Parks who provided the sound system. We will put up the link to the video on our website once it’s live.

The many facets of Let’s Work’s work

 Every day of the week the Let’s Work Team are busy.

With their blue Let’s Work jackets on you’ll find them clearing storm water gutters, cleaning the spruit, sorting food to take to those in need, cleaning the green spaces of rubbish, cutting fire-breaks to protect the trees from fire, removing the numerous ‘penis enlargement’ stickers, and many other activities that keep our suburb (and Ward) clean. 

For many of the workers, it’s a temporary job, some their first job, that gives them very basic skills and makes them more likely to find another job. Many move on to other jobs.

But ‘man shall not live by bread alone’ and the NPO desperately needs money to continue doing the sterling work that it does and to provide jobs to those that have nothing. It also needs soup containers like old yoghurt tubs so it can continue providing soup to the needy.

Building/renovations/heritage—follow the procedures

  • No building noise on Sundays and public holidays:

Just a reminder to all residents that if you’re trying to get your renovations/alterations finished by the December holidays, there are certain rules that must be followed. Check the full details here:

Just to summarise:

  • No using of machines/tools like angle grinders, jackhammers, etc that make a noise:

* on a public holiday or Sunday

* before 6:00 or after 17:00 on any Saturday

* before 6:00 or after 18:00 on Monday-Friday

If you believe that a builder or your neighbour is contravening these regulations, first speak to them. If you don’t get a positive response, call JMPD (011 375 5911) or SAPS Parkview (071 675 606/3)

·    If you think your neighbour is not following the building plans that you signed off on before building was started, contact the building inspector, Faried Watson—083 450 2914—fariedw@joburg.org.za—please cc to info@era.org.za so that we can follow up.

·    Get a wayleave if you want to store sand/bricks on your pavement and a skip for your rubble.

Failure to have either of these in place will result in a fine from JMPD.

You must also leave a clear pathway for pedestrians.

· And remember that all renovations, alterations, demolitions need approval from

* The Louw Geldenhuys family AND

* From Heritage Authorities (PHRA-G) if your house is older than 60 years,

before the City will approve your plans.

ERA acts on behalf of both these entities. Contact Gemey Abrahams, ERA’s town planning expert on: 082 459 5266 or info@era.org.za for:

* Any clarity on the new Land Use Scheme

* Any building, plans, heritage or town planning queries, AND

* The PHRA-G application forms and the PHRA-G Guidance Note.

For more details check out:

Crime and Security issues continue to bug us all

 Top crimes

There are two crimes vying for top place:

   Theft of cellphones from restaurants, out of pockets, from pedestrians. Modus operandi is the same: a car (mostly Toyota Conquest) cruises past you, one person hops out the vehicle, steals the cellphone and then quickly jumps back in the car which speeds away. CAP is also reporting the theft of watches/fitbits off people’s arms while jogging, sitting.

*    Theft of wheelie bins. This is becoming a regular occurrence when the bin is put out for collecting. If yours is stolen—Phone 011 375 5555.

Wake up!

According to crime reports, residents have lost their alertness:

  • Empty vehicles are left idling
  • Gates are left unlocked
  • Alarms are left unarmed

·   Residents are going away and not instituting property security protocols with the staff on the property resulting in thieves masquerading as service providers being allowed on to the property.

And be vigilant—home invasions are back.

A special plea to residents: be courteous to SAPS members, they are taking risks to protect us, they need our support.

Results of Parkview CPF survey

·  More than 56% are satisfied with SAPS’s response after opening a case

·  15% of crime victims received victim support (Remember to phone

073 280 4453 to get help. See here https://era.org.za/parkview-victim-support-unit-to-the-rescue/ for more details on what Parkview Victim Support offers)

·  49% are generally satisfied with SAPS’s service

·  86% feel unsafe walking alone at night

·  35% feel unsafe walking alone during the day.

Land invasion

So far we haven’t experienced land invasion as in some other suburbs, but there are increasing numbers of people who are erecting shelters or sleeping overnight in the suburb. The Let’s Work team try to discourage this. Donate to Let’s Work so they can continue to patrol the spruit.

You can also report all incidents of land invasion, including shacks, tents and shelters in open spaces, to JMPD’s new 24/7 hotline: 0800 120 555.

WOZA is back

Local resident and creator of the WOZA app, Paul Nogueira hasn’t been slumbering in lockdown. He’s created a revised WOZA app – The WOZA/ Buy Local Initiative – and it’s free. You just have to agree to receive ONE whatsapp per week that promotes local businesses.

The popular shake-to-activate is still there and you can choose to connect it to your security company, and/or SAPS and important family numbers. 

Not only does it keep you safe but a new button on the app connects users to the buy-local online market and Services Directory, which helps small business owners, including home-based businesses, to recover from … 2020! 

If you want to register your home business go here: http://www.buy-local.co.za/register.php

Or better still, download the WOZA app and do it there:

http://onelink.to/6aetwe

Create your own services directory with references from the community for plumbers, electricians, handyman services – all behind one button on the Woza app.

Any questions, ask Paul – 0824993552.

COJ News

BEWARE: Illegal to cut down pavement trees

City Parks has announced “zero tolerance for illegal removal or cutting of [pavement] trees”. A resident recently had a R188 000 fine added to their rates bill for cutting down seven trees.

According to Margaret Arnolds, MMC for Community Development, the fine is based on the replacement cost for the tree which is in turn influenced by its age, size, species, availability, location, historical significance and current market prices.

If you need pavement trees to be cut/trimmed, call City Parks on 011 375 5555.

DOs and DON’Ts around water

Living in this country we increasingly have to be level/stage literate. There’s an app to help us understand Eskom’s stages. Covid Level 1 is now happily with us as long as we keep washing hands, wearing masks and all those things..

Now Joburg Water has reminded us all of Level 1 water restrictions. By mid-September the level of the Vaal Dam had dropped to 36% compared with 57.6% last year during the same period.

The following restrictions apply:

  • No watering of gardens between 6am – 6pm (from 1 Sept to 31 March)
  • No washing of paved areas and driveways using hose pipes.

If you have a borehole, please put a notice on your wall.

If you see any burst pipes, leaking water meters, open hydrants or sewerage leaks,

Phone: 011 375 5555/086 056 2874

SMS:       076 333 5052; e-mail:         

customerserviceemails@jwater.co.za  

If you want to receive this newsletter direct to your e-mail – click here:  

     If you are not yet a member of ERA, just a reminder 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:

treasurer@era.org.za with your surname and telephone number as your reference together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form below –

ERA AGM – 14 October 2020, Virtual AGM, 18h30 for 19h00

Due to concerns over Covid-19, we have decided to make this a virtual AGM. Please e-mail info@era.org.za if you would like the link. We will also put up the link closer to the time.

The AGM was meant to be held in March 2020 but was postponed due to Covid-19. This postponed AGM will take place now and will report on the period from 1 April 2019 until end September 2020.  The minutes of the March 2019 AGM will be tabled for adoption. You can find them here: https://era.org.za/draft-era-agm-minutes-march-26-2019/

All residents are welcome to attend. If there is voting (which is unlikely), only those who are members can vote. If you are not yet a member you can join at the door, or see here on how to join: https://era.org.za/join-era/

We always welcome new members and have vacancies in some portfolios (see the current portfolios here: https://era.org.za/era-exco/  We are always looking for volunteers as we also have ad hoc sub-committees that you can get involved in or if there is a burning issue that you feel strongly about, you can help create a new sub-committee.

For more info e-mail info@era.org.za

ERA Covid-19 newsletter – No 10, 9 September 2020

Some light at the end of the tunnel?

Even though Spring Day on September 1 felt more like mid-winter, there are other reasons to be optimistic.

  • 87% of those that have tested positive for Covid-19 have recovered – many of these are people we know: ourselves, family members, colleagues and friends.
  • Many who get the virus are managing to treat themselves at home.
  • Many people (especially young people) who test positive have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
  • New daily infections are hovering around 2000 – way down from the peak of nearly 14 000 in July.
  • And by Thursday September 3, the sun was out and spring was here.

Many are warning of a second wave now that restrictions have been lessened and people are allowed to socialise more, just as we are seeing in other parts of the world. In the 1918 flu epidemic the second wave in the autumn of 1918 resulted in more deaths than the first.

One hundred years later, we have many more weapons in our armoury than their potash and salt: wear a mask, practise social distancing, wash hands/alcohol spray and, and, and.

Meanwhile the department of health has just released another weapon to control the spread of the virus. They’ve developed an app – COVID Alert SA – similar to what other countries have been using, to trace those that have been in touch with Covid-positive people. The app uses Apple and Google technology and Bluetooth and once you’ve registered will notify you if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 so that you can self-isolate.

If you yourself test positive, you can safely share your test results anonymously through the app and immediately all those people that your phone has been close to will be notified so they can self-quarantine for 10 days. The app does not download any of your personal information or your contacts.

Paul Nogueira, our resident tecchie who developed the Woza app, was involved in the beta testing of this new app, has it on his phone and supports it 100%. “I encourage everyone to install it,” he says.

Find out more detail here: https://youtu.be/XBSdMcruJC0 Download from Google Play or Apple App store.

Greenside’s Go2 initiative reports “lower than anticipated need”

We were all heartened by an initiative of some Greenside doctors that was set up early in lockdown to provide backup with oxygen and medical assistance if hospitals were too full to treat Covid-19 patients. The team also includes a physiotherapist and psychologist, all of whom have other day jobs but were volunteering their services to support residents in Greenside and surrounding communities.

Months on, one of the doctors, Dr X, says that they have helped patients find hospital beds during the peak, leant oximeters and oxygen concentrators for those that could be treated at home until their medical aid could provide and advised some to go to hospital where they could be monitored more effectively. They have received numerous telephone calls just for advice.

One resident vouched for the great service on one of Emmarentia’s whatsapp groups: “I would like to express my deep gratitude to the go2 initiative as well as Rescue786 for their superb assistance this afternoon. I was diagnosed with Covid-19 and within 30 minutes they assisted me with tons of support and oxygen at home. Brave and dedicated people.”

Looking back, Dr X is thrilled that our numbers “didn’t hit the chaotic cliff” that was seen in countries like the UK and Italy. “There was one week where the hospitals seemed not to be coping”.

The low numbers of people needing assistance in the area meant that “we could lend the equipment to those that needed it in poorer surrounding areas”.  

For now she says they are holding onto the equipment and will decide what happens to it post Covid.

Thank you Go2 for being so generous with your time and thanks to those that gave so generously so that equipment could be purchased.

Covid-19 batters the economy

Since the beginning of lockdown an extra 2 million people have joined the unemployed. Economist Mike Schussler predicts that the impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown will push an extra one million people into the ‘absolute poverty’ group – i.e. they will be surviving on under $1,90 a day.

We’re seeing the effects – petty theft is on the increase. “Cell phones are being snatched out of hands, pockets, bags, offices and body straps from people leaving their homes, standing in queues, walking their dogs or cycling,” says Parkview CPF.

In the southern end of Botanic Gardens, Emmarentia (where Judith Road and Beyers Naude intersect) there have been at least three attacks. The Botanic Gardens has now stepped up security in the area.

While home invasions are not so frequent, they are still happening and residents should remain vigilant. Car theft of parked cars in the street is also an issue. Recently it took just three minutes for thieves to steal a Polo parked in Mazoe Road. Beware!

There is also a surge in the number of people asking for help at traffic lights, at Checkers, at the shops on Greenhill Road and wherever you travel to.

Note:

Parkview SAPS’s telephone lines are not working reliably at the moment. Residents should use the Relief Commander’s number to get hold of SAPS: 071 675-6065

What can you do to help?

Many things. And most don’t involve digging deep into your pockets.

  1. Keep supporting Let’s Work

Since lockdown started, the Let’s Work team managed by Felicity Gratz-Lawlor hasn’t stopped delivering food on a daily basis to neighbouring suburbs like Westbury, Brixton, Brixton informal settlement, Sophiatown and others. They source the food from supermarkets in the area and receive donations of cooked food and cash from residents. She discourages residents from giving food to those that are begging, “otherwise just now we’ll have everybody”.

The team also:

  • picks up litter in the suburb and Ward 88 as a whole and does a daily walk along the spruit to make sure that people have not made it their home;

The result of one day’s cleaning in the open green spaces

  • has been securing mini-sub stations in the suburb and cleaning them, many of which were inhabited by vagrants and put their lives at risk (City Power pays for the padlocks, Let’s Work pays for the chains);

Cleaning and securing the Hill Road mini-sub next to Emmarentia Primary School

  • takes down illegal signs
  • And the project creates work for about 15 people who were previously unemployed and living on the streets.

Right now Felicity’s biggest need is a replacement bakkie for ‘Bertha’, the old landrover that they use to transport the rubbish that the team has picked up. Bertha is long past her sell by date. Anyone with a spare bakkie they want to give away?

Please continue to give donations in cash or kind to Let’s Work and specify what you’d like the money to be used for:

#Bertha (new vehicle)

#Emmarentia (general cleaning, maintenance of the suburb)

#women’s shelter (to support the new shelter set up by Let’s Work and SCP (more below))

#food for the needy

  • Give old clothes, books, games, furniture etc to the shelter for abused women and their children

One curve that has also been rising during lockdown and regrettably may not have reached its peak, is the abuse of women. Let’s Work and SCP has set up a shelter for abused women and their children and are asking for any donations of bedding, clothes, games, books, magazines, furniture (or cash – deposit in Let’s Work’s account – reference – women’s shelter).

Drop off any donations at 107 Preller Drive, Roosevelt Park between 9am – 2pm any day.

  • Pick up your dog’s poo when you take them for a walk

It seems that lockdown has caused some dog owners to forget to pick up after their dogs. Let’s Work has been helping Botanic Gardens by picking up dog poo in the park and below the dam and along John MacKenzie. By picking up your after your own dog, money spent to pay the Let’s Work workers can then be spent on more useful jobs like cleaning the suburb and clearing the green spaces of litter.

  • Support soup kitchens or inform the needy of them

Since lockdown, many of the religious centres that used to run soup kitchens have stopped. These are the ones we know of. If people know of others, please e-mail info@era.org.za so that we can add them to the list.

  • Brixton soup kitchen (Let’s Work is supporting to them)
  • Fietas soup kitchen. If you want to help the Fietas group (with cooking or supplying ingredients), contact Soleil on 079 041 4466
  • St Francis, Tyrone Avenue, Parkview – feeding on Saturdays and Sundays at the Vuleka entrance e-mail stfrancis@stfrancisparkview.co.za if you want to help
  • Mission of Mercy feeds the needy daily from various stations in Newlands, Westbury and Newclare. It is working with COJ to try and encourage the homeless to use the shelters. During lockdown it was forced to close its Friday soup kitchen at the mosque in Emmarentia and is waiting for the greenlight to open again. 
  • Fountain for the Thirsty, outside Food Zone in Windsor East – Monday to Friday 4-5pm; people must bring their own containers. See here for how you can get involved: https://www.fountainforthethirsty.org/get-involved
  • Shelters

Please help by giving these details to those that seem to be homeless.

Government shelters close by:

Of the 1964 beds available in these shelters in Johannesburg, only 757 are taken up currently. All those living there are provided with 3 meals daily plus psychological support, medical assessments and treatment for substance abuse.

The ones closest to Emmarentia are:

  • Windsor, Knights Avenue (corner of Republic Road and Judges Avenue near Cresta)
  • Hillbrow, 3 Kotze Street (just up from Constitution Hill and opposite The Old Fort)

Privately-run shelters close by:

These shelters rely on donations. Check out their websites if you want to support them.

MES, Smit St, Jhb             R20 per night, first come first served; 1 meal per day; Gates close at 4pm, reopen 8am            Website: https://mes.org.za/  (you can donate shelter and meal vouchers)

Bienvenu, 36 Terrace Road, Bertrams      free (only open to women and their children, especially refugee women and children); 3 meals per day; to gain entrance, the person must e-mail socialworker@bienvenushelter.org            Website: http://www.bienvenushelter.org/

Frida Hartley, 97 Regent Street, Bellevue (no space at the moment) They provide a home for women and their children and help them find a job so that they can become productive and move out    Website: https://www.fridahartley.org/

Sisters of Mercy, Immaculata Shelter, 17 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank (no space at the moment) Also provide showers and a meal.  Website: http://sistersofmercy.ie/provinces/south-africa/

  • Separate your recycling from your rubbish

We are fortunate. We are one of the suburbs that has a free service that collects our recycling every week. All we have to do is separate the plastic, the paper, the glass, the tins (preferably cleaned) from the rest of our rubbish. Every week if you put out a bag of recycling in a clear bag, you’ll get a free one to use the next week. Many residents do; many don’t.

Although many complain about the trolley pushers, they are self-employed, they don’t beg and they are responsible for recycling rates that are on a par with Europe. And they are struggling. When the petrol price plummeted early in lockdown, so too did the prices of PET (ie 2 litre coke bottles and similar). Before lockdown they were earning R4.50 per kg for PET bottles. Now they are getting R1.50 per kg. Separating your recycling from the rest of your rubbish makes their job quicker and cleaner; it reduces the amount of rubbish in your rubbish bin so that you won’t need an extra one; and it reduces the recyclables that are filling our landfills that have almost reached capacity. September is recycling month – start something new if you don’t already do it.

Updates

  • Marico cellphone mast

ERA chair, Ayanda Mjekula and ERA’s planning portfolio representative, Gemey Abrahams met with lawyers acting on behalf of residents who are objecting to the proposed 15m mast that Telkom wants to erect in Marico Road. It was agreed that ERA will join the case as an interested party, bringing the details of the procedures laid down in the title deeds of all properties in Emmarentia to the case.

Meanwhile Telkom offered to settle out of court “but the condition was that [Telkom] would start again and follow the correct procedure this time,” says applicant Sarah Barret. “Obviously we couldn’t accept that so we fight on.”

We’ll keep you posted.

  • Road hump on Olifants Road

We are still following up. More in the next newsletter.

More News

  1. ERA considering a virtual AGM

ERA’s AGM had to be postponed in March because of Covid-19. We are investigating holding a virtual AGM on 14 October 2020. We will make a final decision on 21 September and if it is to go ahead, we will give three weeks notice to residents via e-mail and WhatsApp on 23 September.

  • Botanic Gardens opens and closes

We were all excited and then disappointed that only two gates to the park were opened when restrictions were eased. Some residents engaged a lawyer to demand that it open more gates. ERA gave its support.

However City Parks responded that it was not possible because Covid-19 regulations require them to adhere to safety protocols and they don’t have enough manpower to man all gates.

When chains on the Orange Road and Louw Geldenhuys entrances were forced open by unknown people, City Parks responded by welding the gates closee. Many residents became even more angry. Adding to their frustration was that residents found that often they would enter the gates that were open, only to find that there were no security guards in sight. “Why can’t they open more gates if there’s no security there anyway?” was a common response from residents.

ERA has continued to talk with City Parks. They remain firm on their stance. Please e-mail sviljoen@jhbcityparks.com if you find there is no security. Please include the date, time and at which entrance and what you found at the gate and please copy us in on info@era.org.za  

  • ERA responds to Electronic Communications Bill

On July 22 2020, government called for comments on the proposed policy on the rapid deployment of electronic communications networks and facilities in so far as it relates to accessing property to install infrastructure. Although the policy doesn’t explicitly mention Fifth Generation (5G) technology, background documents are clear that it includes 5G roll out and Wi-fi fibre networks.

ERA has submitted objections to the Bill on the grounds that it curtails and potentially violates existing private property rights and has proposed alternative ways of approaching the issue that will protect this. See here for ERA’s comments that it submitted on August 20 2020:

Emmarentia now has two boomed areas: Emmarentia Ridge which has been established for a few years with 24 hour access through Gambia Road. The new area is on Buffalo and Niger Roads.

  • Parkview CPF needs new volunteers

If you would like to volunteer your services to the Parkview CPF, contact the chairperson, Geraldine Connell on chair@parkviewcpf.co.za

COJ news

  1. Make alternative payment arrangements to avoid disconnection

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the City’s revenue collection which saw revenue drop by R2.9 billion during lockdown levels 5 and 4. As a result when Level 2 restrictions came into effect, City Power immediately announced that from August 26, it would start disconnecting those customers that have not made alternative payment arrangements to pay part of their services. (Note: you will first be issued with a pre-termination notice, followed by a disconnection notice and subsequently you will be cut-off if you haven’t made alternative payment arrangements.)

The City is offering “a reduced payment requirement when entering a payment arrangement with a 10% downpayment required. Customers will also not be subjected to affordability checks.”

If you haven’t already done so, but need to make alternative payment arrangements, e-mail creditcontrol@joburg.org.za or visit Randburg Customer Service Centre, Cnr Bram Fischer Drive and Jan Smuts Avenue. (Open Mon-Fri 8am-3pm; Sat 8am-12noon). Do it now: This offer is valid until 30 September 2020.

If you have account queries – e-mail regionBrevenue@joburg.org.za or visit the Randburg Customer Service Centre. Please copy in Councillor Hensman in your e-mail to the City dhensman@yebo.co.za so that he can follow up should you not receive any assistance.

  • City of Joburg’s COVID rates relief

Residential ratepayers: Check your August municipal account – the City granted you a once off rates rebate of +-R480. This formed part of the R400m the City gave back to ratepayers. It represented a three-month rates rebate on the first R600 000 value of a property during the levels 5 and 4 of the lockdown period.

Business: Disaster Management relief rebate for businesses: The disaster relief rebate will apply for three months and potentially covers 48,425 property owners. The business rebate will be provided by dropping the business ratio from 2.6 to 2.3 for the three months using the 2019/2020 tariffs.

If you want to apply you must comply with the following:

  • Businesses that operated through the lockdown will not be considered for the rebate.
  • Your municipal account must be up to date before the declaration of the disaster; alternatively, the client should have confirmation of payment arrangement. Proof of such will be required as part of the submission for the relief.
  • Provide your financials before Covid-19 and financials during Covid-19.
  • All business property owners must complete the appropriate application for the disaster relief rebate.

Find the form here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mdSaFdFL_LYDSLBCwzWclgpHpFYdbQZ7/view?usp=sharing

Applications together with supporting information must be returned to the City via e-mail to: ratescomments@joburg.org.za OR  handed in at the 1st floor, East Wing, 66 Jorissen Place, Braamfontein.

  • How to report:

Electricity Meter Readings – send in meter reading, account number, meter number, reading date & a pic of the reading on the meter to estimations@citypower.co.za. Customers with old meters and smart meters that are giving estimate readings are encouraged to WhatsApp or email readings. Include name of account holder, meter #, acct #, a pic of the reading, & the actual reading to spencermph@gmail.com / spencer@pmmas.co.za or WhatsApp: 071-002-6543 

Water Meter Readings – include account number, meter reading, date of reading, clear pic of the reading and meter number (please keep it below 2mb) to meterreading@jwater.co.za

Huge water bill received after water leak detected on resident’s side of water meter – An Emmarentia resident got a shock when her water bill was R2000 more than usual. She’d reported a leak which was just on her side of the water meter but Jhb Water took days to reach her because of skeleton staff. The councillor advised her to e-mail regionbrevenue@joburg.org.za requesting a refund based on her average usage and to include the reference number given when she reported the leak.

  • PotholesReport via email to hotline@jra.org.za
  • Wildfires in Melville Koppies/Delta Park etc: 24 hr number 011 760 9143, Phillip 0712203696, Moses 0823442407

Support your local take-away enterprises

If you 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, just a reminder 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: treasurer@era.org.za with your surname and telephone number as your reference together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form below – https://era.org.za/join-era/  

Covid-19 – ERA’s response

Covid-19 is upon us. As ERA we are helping to give you information about how you can find out more about the virus, how you can help those in need, which shops are open and which closed, see if Government’s schemes can help you or your workers and security hot spots. See these posts below to find out more.

ERA Covid-19 newsletter –

No 9, 28 July 2020

Covid-19 in our own homes

Gauteng now has the unenviable position of being the epicentre of Covid-19. The number of new infections each day has climbed to new highs. We all now know someone close who has it or who has succumbed to it. There are also stories of private hospitals being stretched to capacity and of some being full.

* How do you know you have coronavirus?

  • 1. Itching in the throat
  • 2. Dry throat
  • 3. Dry cough
  • 4. High temperature 
  • 5. Shortness of breath
  • 6. Loss of sense of taste & smell 
  • 7. Covid toes – toes turning blue/black 

If you’ve tested positive – don’t panic. Many people who test positive will experience “no symptoms whatsoever”, says Gauteng GP Sheri Fanaroff. “85% of symptomatic people will experience a flu-like illness which will be manageable at home. 10 to 15% of symptomatic people will require hospitalisation and 5% may need ICU,” she says.

See here https://www.biznews.com/inside-covid-19/2020/07/15/covid-19-3 for more of her advice on:

  • How to isolate safely from the rest of your family if you contract it
  • What medications you should take?
  • How should I monitor myself?
  • Do I need to have blood tests or a chest x-ray?

And click here https://era.org.za/how-to-manage-covid-19-at-home/ for very useful advice from Drs Kola and Jassat that covers important details around how to manage Covid-19 at home.  

If you live on your own and contract it, make sure that you keep in contact with a family member or friend so that they can check on you every day to see if you are doing okay and organise shopping for you. And keep your phone close to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your neighbours or e-mail info@era.org.za  We’re here for you.   

And make sure you contact all those that you were in close contact with so that they can self-isolate in case they have caught the virus from you.

These are the signals that tell you when you need more help:

  • Temperature staying above 39 degrees Celsius
  • Heart rate staying above 125 beats per minute
  • Respiratory rate staying above 25 breaths per minute
  • Oxygen saturation staying below 92 % OR a drop in oxygen saturation levels (you can buy Oximeters that test your oxygen levels relatively cheaply or contact your GP – some are lending them out when patients contract Covid)
  • An inability to speak full sentences
  • An inability to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Development of confusion or decreased level of consciousness
  • Inability to stay hydrated
  • Diabetics: sugar levels out of control (too high or too low).

We’re fortunate to have doctors in Greenside who have clubbed together to buy equipment so that they can provide oxygen therapy and care to patients at home instead of going to hospital. Contact them for help on 082 332 2100; 083 454 1316; 083 390 1786. If you’d like to donate to them to boost their ability to help patients, e-mail imasa@gmail.com

Schoolkids back home again

Some of you will agree with the president’s decision to send children back home and others will not. Whatever your views, schoolkids at public schools will stay at home again until 24 August. The exceptions are Grade 12 learners who must return to school on 3 August and Grade 7s on 10 August.

ERA donates R1000 to Parkview CPF

As SAPS Parkview closed again after more staff contracted Covid-19, ERA donated R1000 so that the CPF can buy them Perspex shields for the staff. Our condolences to Parkview SAPS on the loss of some of their own.

Freezing cold and in the dark

Over the last month we have experienced freezing weather. One day was the coldest in four years. But what made it worse was many of us were also in the dark. Eskom had to bring back load-shedding and we all know what happens then… our old cables just blow up when the load-shedding ends and the suburb is reconnected. Coupled with many bouts of cable theft, June/July have not been happy months for residents.

To try and minimise cable theft and damage to mini-subs, the Let’s Work team and residents around Umgwezi Road have secured the fencing with chains and padlocks on Gleneagles and around a number of other mini-subs in the suburb.

During a particularly bad patch where the same residents around Niger Road experienced repeated cable theft and days without power, a number of residents offered to join ERA to help come up with a better plan to not only secure the mini-subs but also try and ensure that the thieves are caught. A plan is currently being hatched. More next time.

Mandela Day at Emmarentia Eventide Home

Eventide old age home in Emmarentia celebrated Christmas in July on July 17 2020. Our community did their 67 minutes a day early by organising them a lunch. 

The event was a great success and the residents really enjoyed themselves.  “Could we please do Christmas in July every month?,” was the plea from the residents at the end of the meal!

It was a wonderful collaboration between the Emmarentia Residents Association and Kindness Like Confetti (KLC).

Special thanks go to:

  • Jinty Segal
  • Kim Frost
  • Shaaziyaa Mayet Local Choice Pharmacy Ormonde 
  • A.K. Greenhill Grocer
  • Somaya from La Breakfast Bean Bakery
  • Brian and Anne Askew and Claire Hoffmann from ERA
  • Residents of Caledon Road 
  • Cash donations from Emmarentia Residents 

Residents enjoy the feast

Let’s Work and Ward 88 residents fill more bellies on Mandela Day

On Mandela Day, Felicity and her Let’s Work Team coordinated the making and delivery of 2 955 meals, 54 litres of soup and bread, 500 boerewors rolls, 260 hot dogs and then she stopped counting because she was so exhausted. “I have never seen so much cooked food in my life (and I’ve seen some pretty huge buffets in the USA)”, said Felicity.

Special thanks go to Mochachos, Eastern Temptations and Fresh Earth for continued support in feeding communities.

And this was just a month after Let’s Work coordinated the distribution of 2446 litres of soup on Father’s Day.

One of the many tasty meals produced for Mandela Day

Meanwhile her team are continuing to clean up the streets of Ward 88 and do patrols along the Spruit to ensure that people do not erect structures.

Don’t forget, Let’s Work always needs donations – in cash or kind, preferably cash so the team can be paid for their hard work whether it’s helping sort and distribute food or cleaning the streets and green spaces. EFT to Let’s Work; NPO#201-696 FNB A/C – 62801299472; Reference: Emmarentia

More green spaces to explore

In line with the president’s easing of restrictions on exercising in green spaces:

* Jhb Botanical Gardens re-opens from 1 August

Because of limited staff and to ensure that all safety measures are followed, only two entrances will be open: the main entrance on Olifants Road and the other entrance opposite Roosevelt Park High School in Thomas Bowler Avenue.

Visitors to the park must comply with these regulations:

  1. Wear a mask in public spaces at all times.
  2. Practice social distancing of a minimum of 3 metres apart.
  3. Picnics, events or gatherings are strictly prohibited.
  4. Ensure that hands are washed and sanitized prior to entering a city parks facility.
  5. Exercise only with persons within your household which is limited to a maximum of 5 people in a group.
  6. Refrain from using the ablution facilities and the playgrounds.
  7. Remind children that the use of the gym and play equipment is prohibited.
  8. Take all disposables home, including empty bottles and paper cups.
  9. Leave all valuables at home to avoid opportunistic crime.
  10. Abide by the public open spaces by-laws in place.
  11. Dogs must be on a lead, only two dogs per person and dog walkers must pick up after their dogs.
Time to enjoy the park again
  • Melville Koppies Central to open on Sunday mornings from 9 August

Melville Koppies Central (entrance opposite Marks Park entrance;  park at Marks Park) on August  9, 16, 23 and 30 will be open between 8am and 11.30am. Because of Covid-19 there will be no guided tours or hikes. Instead you will be given a map and you can then self-guide yourselves in your family group through the very special nature reserve and heritage site that also has geological, botanical and animal treasures. Guides and security will be on duty. (No dogs allowed.)

Self-guide yourselves along one of the many paths that criss-cross the koppies

To limit numbers and keep social distancing, booking with pre-payment essential – R80 for adults, R40 per child. Masks must be worn at all times. Book with wendavid@mweb.co.za or phone +27 11 482 4797

Note: Melville Koppies is in dire need of financial help. It relies on guided tours and hikes to raise the R22 000 a month to pay its five conservation workers. Since lockdown, there have been no guided tours or hikes but the committee has continued to pay its conservation workers who keep the Koppies clean and clear of weeds and invasive alien plants ensuring that the adjacent properties on the Emmarentia Ridge retain their value. There are three ways you can help:

  • Go and explore the koppies on Sunday mornings (details above)
  • Donate any old clothes, books, etc to Junkie in Melville and say you want Melville Koppies to benefit. A percentage of the sales will go to Melville Koppies
  • Donate direct to Melville Koppies – Nedbank, A/c1581017421, Branch code – 15810500
  • Add Melville Koppies to your beneficiaries on your My School card.

Road hump on Olifants Road angers residents

ERA has received many complaints from residents about the new road hump on Olifants Road adjacent to the entrance to the Botanic Gardens that residents say “endangers the lives of cyclists on the road and motorists”.

ERA then approached Councillor Hensman to pressurise JRA to do another inspection on the grounds that he was never asked to approve the installation of a new roadhump as per the regulations and because of numerous residents’ complaints. As we sent out this newsletter, Hensman was awaiting a response from JRA.

If JRA says that the hump is all in order then ERA will open a petition and allow residents to have their say and then follow the process to submit the petition to JRA. We’ll keep you posted.

Licence expiry date extended again

Because of the heavy initial lockdown restrictions and the subsequent frequent closures of licensing offices as and when staff have contracted the virus, there is now a huge backlog of licence renewals. To address this:

  • all motor vehicle licence discs, temporary permits, roadworthy certificates that expired between March 26 and May 31, will now expire on November 30 2020; and
  • all learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional and driving permits that expire between March 26 and August 30, will now expire on 31 January 2021.

Insurers have confirmed that if you are in a car accident or your car is stolen and one of your licences has expired, you will still be covered.

Telkom mast update

In the last newsletter we reported on some residents bid to halt the construction of a Telkom mast in Marico Road. Since then Telkom has agreed to hold on any more construction until the case goes to court, probably sometime in August. More in the next newsletter.

If you’d like to support the initiative to fight Telkom, especially helping to pay her vast legal bills, e-mail Sarah Barret on sarahbarret2@outlook.com to find out how.

COJ News

These are the final new tariffs adopted. You should all have received your latest accounts from COJ.

Property rates:  Proposed – 4.9%              Final – 4%

City Power:        Proposed – 8.1%               Final – 6.23% (proposal for pre-paid customers to pay an extra R200 per month was scrapped)

Water:                 Proposed – 8.6%              Final – 6.6%

Refuse:                                                            Final 5.2% (proposal was accepted)

CoJDevPlanning has established a law enforcement unit. Residents can report the following contraventions to complaintsple@joburg.org.za:

  • Zoning
  • Illegal land use
  • Additions
  • Alterations 
  • Building developments
  • Building signage
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Request a building inspector

Please copy ERA in on the complaint so that we can keep track of progress.

COJ Development Planning Department goes electronic

You can now deal with this Department via e-mail instead of going into the office. Call the respective office for more details.

Just a thought!

Normally some of us, especially those that live close to Marks Park and the entrances to Botanic Gardens, dread this time of year. It means Saturday or Sunday mornings are disturbed by the many walkers and runners that come to our suburb to take part in Walk the Talk, the Spar Women’s Race, the Avon Walk and many, many more. Just a year ago did you ever think that it would take a pandemic to bring you peaceful weekend mornings in June/July/August? Many of us are missing the normality of the noisy!

If you 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, just a reminder 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: treasurer@era.org.za with your surname and telephone number as your reference together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form below – https://era.org.za/join-era/  

______________________________________________________________________________

ERA Covid-19 newsletter – No 8, 18 June 2020

As we enter the 12th week of lockdown, and the 18th day under Level 3, by now you’re all experts on what you can do under Level 3 and what you shouldn’t do. But really Level 3 is all about self-regulating. Do your bit to control the spread and take care of yourselves.

Daily numbers of Covid-19 patients are increasing at a more rapid rate in part because of more tests being done, but mostly because that is the expected trajectory of the illness. It means that when you leave your house you are more likely to catch Covid-19 than before. It also means that some of you may have it or you may have friends/family that have it. Our deepest condolences to those that have lost loved ones.

In the coming weeks/months, you may find yourself faced with questions like the following:

  • I have diarrhoea/ a cold/ a headache / a sore throat – can I go to work/ school?
  • My child/ spouse has a fever/ cough – they will obviously stay home, but can I go to work/ school?
  • My work colleague/ my child’s school friend/ someone who I chatted to at the shops has just called me to say they have COVID, what must I do?
  • What does self-quarantine entail?
  • I was in Close Contact with somebody who tested positive at work. I have no symptoms and my boss says I should have a test and come back to work if I’m negative – is this ok?

click here to find out the answers that Dr Sheri Fanaroff, a past pupil of Emmarentia Primary School (1981-1985) who is now a practising GP in Johannesburg, shared recently.

Schools resume

By now some grades have gone back to school and more will resume over the next while. We know the huge debates that have been going on about whether it’s safe to send your children back to school. We’re sure that the decisions that you’ve made suit your individual circumstances.

New school terms for 2020

Term 2:                8 June – 7 August  (holidays 10-11 August) (staggered return of grades to school)

Term 3:                12 August – 23 September (holidays from 24 September – 2 October)

Term 4:                5 October – 15 December

ERA supports residents’ bid to halt Telkom mast

In March 2020 residents in Marico Road were alarmed to find out that the pegged out markings in someone’s garden and then the excavation and the laying of a concrete foundation were the beginnings of the installation of a 20m Telkom cellphone mast.

A number of residents took legal advice and contracted lawyers at a substantial cost to interdict Telkom. The interdict was granted and all construction was halted. The case was set down to be heard in April. Initially there were hopes that the matter could be settled out of court but in June, Telkom changed its mind in May and said it would meet those opposing the construction in court on 9 June. On that date, the matter was not heard and the case has again been postponed until 23 June.

Meanwhile ERA has leant its support to the residents’ court challenge by sending a letter to the Telkom CEO and appealing to him to do what he can to halt the construction of the mast and to construct it in a more suitable location. In the letter, ERA chairperson, Ayanda Mjekula, points out that Telkom proposes to build the mast “inside a residential site, disfiguring the neighbourhood, is unsightly, objectionable and will derogate from the value of the adjoining and neighbouring properties”.

If you would like to support this initiative to fight Telkom, e-mail Sarah Barret on sarahbarret2@outlook.com to find out how.

Appeal to residents to support Xmas in July at the Eventide Home

Over the past while, ERA, with residents’ generous support, has sponsored Xmas in July for Emmarentia Eventide residents. Last year with your generous donations we were able to give them a delicious feast in July and with the remaining money, buy them an Open View decoder with remote at Christmas time.

With Covid-19 casting a cloud over all our lives we were concerned that it could prevent this year’s plans. However, after discussions with the Home and with local charity, Kindness Like Confetti, ERA will help coordinate a Mandela Day event with KLC which will take place at the Emmarentia Eventide Home. “To minimise contact with residents, food and goodie bags will be dropped off at the Home and the staff will dish up and distribute,” says Claire Hoffmann, ERA’s communications person. 

Sadly, ERA chair, Ayanda Mjekula will not be able to don his red Father Christmas outfit and  hand out the gifts! If you can assist in any way – with food for the meal or items to go in the goodie bags for the residents, please contact info@era.org.za or claire@kindness.org.za. For monetary donations you can EFT directly to Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173; Branch Code: 198765; Reference: Xmas in July. E-mail POP to treasurer@era.org.za.

Parkview CPF appeals to mayor to intervene in problem of homeless people in the precinct

On June 8, Parkview CPF sent a hard-hitting 4-page letter to the Mayor, Geoff Makhubo, and the City Manager, Ndivho Lukhwareni, requesting a meeting to “agree on a plan for dealing with the homeless people for whom it is easier to live on the streets and in open spaces than to be accommodated in shelters”.

The letter describes the failed attempts the CPF had made over the past year with SAPS, JMPD and the Department of Social Development (DSD) to try and move the homeless into shelters. Even though some moved during Level 1 lockdown, since Level 3 opened up, many have moved back to the open spaces.

The letter also details the Catch-22 process that must be followed to remove those that are breaking the by-laws by living in open spaces (Read the full letter to appreciate the flawed process: https://era.org.za/parkview-cpf-appeals-to-mayor-for-help-with-homeless/

The letter concludes by saying that “it would seem to us that the organs of state are failing its citizens. There simply must be a better way to deal with this growing problem, which we submit is the City’s to deal with. This has been further highlighted by the COVID-19 lockdown measures. Something needs to be done about this situation urgently. The threats to safety need to be removed, by-laws must be enforced and the indigent people need to be dealt with in a compassionate and decisive manner.”

As this newsletter was being sent out, no response had been received from the Mayor.

The CPF has still not received approval to set up a soup kitchen.

Emmarentia shops news

  • Greenhill Grocer would like to thank its community of shoppers for their fantastic support. With your generous donations they were able to collect 300 food hampers for the needy. 150 were given to Gift of the Givers and 150 to Let’s Work.
  • Fresh Earth is offering a 15% discount on any restaurant purchase/take away if you show this newsletter on your phone. The voucher code is #ERAnewsletter and can be redeemed until 18 July 2020.

Let’s Work appeals for money donations

While Let’s Work continues to do its tireless work of feeding and clothing those in need (aided by the generous support of residents – thank you) Lockdown level 3 has brought new challenges.

The shelter in Windsor that had to accommodate 100 people overnight at the beginning of lockdown now only has 28 elderly people left. Many of those that have left are now begging on our streets and moving into green spaces and there are more structures now than there were before lockdown. With this have come increased reports of muggings and attacks in these green spaces.

To respond to this Let’s Work wants to fund two teams so that one continues processing the soup/food demands and the other resumes work in the green spaces. Despite the huge help Let’s Work has received with food, clothing, and soup for the needy, their financial donations are at about 15% of normal donations. And to resume the green spaces team, they need financial resources.

The green spaces team has started cutting back the reeds along the spruit so that the trees don’t get burnt again by the arsonist that strikes annually. Cutting the reeds back also helps to keep out the vagrants who find good shelter in the long reeds.

If you can help with food, soup-making, closed containers to put the soup in, contact Felicity Gratz-Lawlor – 082 568 1783, felicity@letswork.org.za or drop off at 107 Preller Road, Roosevelt Park.

Father’s Day appeal: Please make a note in your diaries for 23 June – Father’s Day. Let’s Work is planning a major campaign to provide soup for that day. If you can help in any way, contact Felicity. (Remember – kids get community service letters)

And if you’re concerned about safety in the green spaces, donate to:

Let’s Work; NPO#201-696 FNB A/C – Let’s Work  A/c 62801299472; Reference: Emmarentia

[Note: In response to reports of attacks, Jhb City Parks has informed residents that all green spaces covered by JCP are out of bounds, even if they are unlocked/unfenced.]

COJ NEWS:

  1. Covid-19 batters COJ’s revenue

According to Mayor Makhubo, in April and May, 97 000 residential and business accounts that normally paid their COJ accounts did not pay. This resulted in a loss of R1.3 billion to the City. However, this is expected to improve in June as many have resumed work under Level 3.

Meanwhile, the City seems to have rectified its mistake of double-billing customers for water in the month of May by passing credit to its customers in the June invoices. If yours is still not rectified, contact 011 375 1111

  • Have your say on the COJ draft budget/IDP

The City has released draft documents for 2020/21 – Proposed Budget and Tariffs, IDP, Rates policy and By-laws. Its inviting comments from any interested party. You have until 23 June to comment.

Find the documents here:

https://www.joburg.org.za/documents_/Pages/Key%20Documents/SDBIP%20IDP%20and%20Budget/links/Budget.aspx

Fill in your comments on all documents on this web form by opening this link: https://share.hsforms.com/1puiRfx1FSO606r27262qHA469tl

Or if you have more detailed comments email the following. For:

Or WhatsApp: 083 632 1077

Key aspects of the proposed budget are:

Property rates: Up by 4.9%

  • Pensioner rebates:
  • The qualifying valuation threshold of R2.5 million and the over-70 rebate remain the same.
  • 60-69 year-olds rebates – if your property is valued at less than R2.5m and your gross monthly household income is:
    • less than R10 230 you will get a 100% rebate on rates
    • more than R10 230 but less than R17 585 you will get a 50% rebate.
  • City Power:
  • overall increase of 8.1%.
  • prepaid customers will pay an extra R200 per month for electricity infrastructure (businesses an extra R400 per month)
  • Refuse: up by 5.2%.
  • Water and Sanitation: up by 8.6%.
  • The new ANC-led City is proposing to reinstate the free 6kl a month to all households. Those households using more than 10kl will therefore see a reduction in their water bills; those using more than 10kl will see big increases.

The budget proposes increasing remuneration of councillors by 6.4% while employees employed by COJ will have their salaries capped at 5.4%. Proposed increased spending on maintenance is low at just more than 3%.

If you 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, just a reminder 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: treasurer@era.org.za with your surname and telephone number as your reference together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form below – https://era.org.za/join-era/  

ERA Covid-19 newsletter – No 7, 19 May 2020

It’s hard to believe that we’ve passed the 50th day of lockdown. And if it’s all feeling like a blur with one day merging into another and you’re uneasy because you’re not sure what’s going to happen to your business, to your kids, to your older members of the family, today, tomorrow or next week, you’re not alone. In fact there’s even a term for it. It’s called ‘temporal disintegration’, and it’s a direct result of trauma, according to E. Alison Holman, Ph.D., a psychologist and an associate professor with the UC Irvine Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing. (for more see here https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/how-and-why-coronavirus-changing-our-sense-time?fbclid=IwAR0ol0NJHEGQ-KMp19vHzkHG7Wub5ZCjRmKAdL66S60qTqlmnT4y4vz3h6I)

Closer to home, Debbi Burman from Parkview Victim Support Unit (VSU) acknowledges the enormous strain that families are going through. Although it is normal to suffer from some of the following symptoms during stressful times, they can feel overwhelming during these unusual circumstances.

Symptoms of stress can include insomnia, or excessive tiredness she says. Also beware of an increasing dependence on alcohol and other substances for relaxation or to help with sleep problems. Panic attacks and breathlessness are also common.

She also warns parents to be on the lookout for signs of stress in children who are missing their school friends and the daily routine. ‘They may become more needy, need to share your bed again, revert to thumb-sucking, bed-wetting or unusual crying and temper tantrums’. 

Normal issues with teenagers may become intensified and need to be handled calmly. Their peers are very important to them and social media is a good way for them to keep in contact. Parents need to acknowledge their frustrations and conversations amongst the family members should be encouraged.

The VSU with its team of counsellors are trained in debriefing. They can talk to you and give further advice. Should you need more than they can offer, they are able to provide referrals to the relevant professionals. She encourages residents to phone the unit on 073 280 4453 should you wish to speak to one of their counsellors. (this is a free service)

Let’s Work always at work

Someone else who’s not sure what day of the week it is, is Let’s Work’s Felicity Gratz-Lawlor. Drive past her house every day and you’ll see her team of seven at it, receiving food and other donations, packaging food parcels and always disinfecting everything that’s received. I ask her what she does every day. There’s a moment’s silence, and then ‘well we had to find a home for 350 loaves of bread this week. I used to have to plan the menu for the shelter every day; now I only do that once a week.’

Just before Mother’s Day she sent out an appeal for 1000 cup cakes – she received 3850 – wow, thank you to all that made mothers feel valued.

What Felicity does know is that every day there are pots bubbling on her stove making soup. ‘It’s cold now, people are so grateful when they receive soup. And we love receiving ready-made soup – stew up some veg, add bits of meat or a chicken stock cube, put it in a ziploc bag, freeze it and drop it off. Every little bit counts. And containers to put the soup into – yoghurt tubs, ice cream tubs, anything like that.’ And if you can encourage your kids to make it, she will give them a community hours’ certificate.

Currently her team services two shelters – one in Windsor (90 people) and one in Northcliff (20 people) as well those in need in neighbouring areas like Westbury, Albertville, Greymont, Newlands, Claremont, Sophiatown, Brixton (soup kitchen for the homeless), Kathrada Park, Old Age Homes in Westbury and Westdene. They also make up food parcels for Ward 87.

She is so grateful for food donations, but ‘please no more mealie meal’, she has loads of it. Instead instant porridge would be good. Better to Whatsapp her or look on Whatsapp groups for what’s on her list for that day.

What she really needs now is warm blankets, old shoes, socks. Drop it off or Whatsapp her and she may be able to collect from you. Money donations are always needed so they can get bulk prices on things like sardines.

Felicity Gratz-Lawlor – 082 568 1783; 107 Preller Road, Roosevelt Park

Banking details:

Let’s Work; NPO#201-696 FNB A/C – Let’s Work  A/c 62801299472; Reference: shelter

ERA donates infrared thermometer to Emmarentia Eventide

ERA has followed up its donation of 100 masks to Emmarentia Eventide with the donation of an infrared thermometer. ‘We are so relieved to have this,’ says the Major of the home, ‘the Department is checking on Old Age Homes for compliance.’

Appeal from Randburg SPCA

The need to support animals hasn’t stopped over lockdown. ERA has received an appeal for funds from the SPCA. They have asked us to pass on their appeal to residents. They are appealing for funds to support their 5 Freedoms campaign:

* Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition

* Freedom to express normal behaviour

* Freedom from discomfort 

* Freedom from fear and distress

* Freedom from pain, injury and disease 

These freedoms encompass four areas of work – Rescue; Sterilise; Welfare; Care

Donate to: RANDBURG SPCA; FNB A/c 62702475717; Branch Code 256755. Specify which area of work you would like to donate to: Ref: *RESCUE or *STERILISE or *WELFARE or *CARE

Parkview CPF news

  • Permission is still being sought to set up a soup kitchen in the SAPS Parkview precinct. We will keep you updated.
  • The Parkview Community Police Forum (CPF) has developed a community safety plan and needs your help. In order to understand how people perceive crime in our precinct, the CPF needs to ask for your experience. The CPF believes that it can improve the safety of the precinct if you tell it how you think the organs of state can improve their services. To this end the CPF has prepared a survey, which will take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete. If you live or work in any of the suburbs policed by Parkview SAPS, you are invited to complete the survey at https://forms.gle/pGusznxtsm9csco2A

The survey will be open for responses until 15 June 2020. Please don’t hesitate to contact Geraldine Connell at chair@parkviewcpf.co.za if you have any questions or comments.

WOZA to fold end of May

Despite a last minute rally to get another 100 subscribers to subscribe to WOZA, we failed to reach the target. Thank you to those that made new commitments and a special thank you to Paul Nogueira for developing the app and running it so successfully for the benefit of residents.

* Beware—the bin thieves are back

Residents are reporting bins being stolen again. Apparently reclaimers use the wheels for their trolleys and use the lidless frames to separate the different types of recycling. 

* Be careful when exercising with electronic equipment in the mornings

There have been reports of mobile phones/watches/jewellery being stolen off joggers, walkers early in the morning. Rather leave it all at home.  And if it is stolen please report all details to CAP/SAPS.

Restaurant news

  • Delivery etiquette

Restaurants are struggling to stay afloat – some have had to employ drivers or contract Uber Eats or another delivery service, all of which increases their costs. But not all residents are cooperating. These are just some of the problems they are facing: ‘Customers place orders and then are not at home when the delivery arrives. Intercoms don’t work, customers don’t answer their phones. All of this delays our drivers.’

So please do your bit to ensure that our restaurants can endure these difficult times and support and cooperate with them.

  • More restaurants re-open

* Ophelias, 5th Avenue – 8h00 -12h00; Uber Eats from 9h00 -12h00; Phone 068 516 3919

* Pizza Hut, Greenhill Road, Uber Eats from 11h00 – 18h15; Phone 010 109 7715

* Sweet Tea Chickadee, 3 Levubu Road – Uber Eats 8h00 – 17h00; Wed-Sunday; Phone 083 712 4805

  • Eastern Temptations home delivers

If you don’t want to visit Eastern Temptations but would rather get stuff delivered, order through Personal Shopper  – call or whatsapp order to 072 572 5635

  • Greenhill Grocer appeal

Thanks to your generosity Greenhill Grocer has been able to make up 250 hampers for the needy. They have extended the campaign by another week to 24 May and are hoping to get to 500 hampers at R50 per hamper. Pay to:

Greenhill Grocer, Nedbank current account, A/c 1049668170, branch code 1958105. SMS POP to 082 444 1168 or e-mail info@greenhillgrocer.co.za; Ref: name+number of hampers

  • Unruly ‘carguards’

Please be careful on Greenhill Road with the self-appointed carguards. Fresh Earth has its own carguards who wear pink vests – be sure to tip them but please refrain from tipping the others and if you have a problem please phone JMPD on 011 758 9620 or SAPS on 071 675 6060/1/2/3.

Easing of lockdown?

Pinging card transactions on people’s mobiles must have soared since government relaxed restrictions on what can be bought online. There’s hope that at the end of May, or before, we might see us dropping down to Level 3 although with Region B in Johannesburg still being one of the hotspots, don’t count those chickens….. Check out this useful tool to see what’s allowed at which level and in which area. www.lockdownbozza.co.za Still no hairdressers/barbers for a while… You need to implement Plan B!

Wildlife has its day

While we’ve been locked down the wildlife has been active. In the last newsletter we reported that a rinkhals had bitten a cat in a garden in Emmarentia. (NB: cat is recovering, but very slowly)

This week residents have been sharing photos and videos of a spotted genet in their gardens. If you spot its face you may think it’s just a cat but when you see its thick striped tail you’ll know it’s not. Keep your eyes peeled and be welcoming – they eat rats and mice.

And while on wildlife and nature, check out https://www.facebook.com/search/posts/?q=melville%20koppies&epa=SERP_TAB

Since lockdown began, Wendy Carstens who manages Melville Koppies nature reserve and some volunteers have been writing short pieces about the birds, the bees and the people linked to the koppies that is right on our doorstep.

Planning and heritage approval

While lots of things may still be locked down, ERA’s Gemey Abrahams who approves Emmarentia homeowners’ building plans and heritage requests is not. If you or your architect has been busy during Level 5 and 4 designing renovations or additions to your property, you can contact Gemey to get all these signed off. E-mail info@era.org.za or whatsapp her on 082 459 5266.

(Remember title deeds of Emmarentia properties state that any renovations or new build must be signed off by ERA who act on behalf of the Louw Geldenhuys family who originally developed the suburb. Moreover, almost all Emmarentia houses are older than 60 years which means that any alteration/addition must follow heritage requirements. See here for more details and the costs involved: https://era.org.za/building-and-renovations/

COJ apologises for overbilling water

COJ has billed most people for 60 days instead of 30 days. It also didn’t bill as per actual readings that residents sent in. CoJ is busy correcting this. In the meantime, please pay your average bill and also send through your actual readings again around the 25th of the month.

Wear a mask

The trickiest thing about Covid-19 is that you may have it even though you have no symptoms. And if you have it you can pass it on to someone else that is older, sicker and more vulnerable than you. So when you go out your gate, put your mask on. When I walk out of my gate currently I don’t have enough hands and feet to count how many people are ignoring the regulation. The mask is not to protect you – it’s to protect others from you. So please, if you’re on your bicycle, on the pavement or jogging on the street, and in the car – put that mask on! (And wear it correctly – we’ve all guffawed with laughter at the meme of how not to wear it…)

Stay safe.

ERA

ERA Covid-19 newsletter – No 6, 7 May 2020
Dear Emmarentia residents

ERA to sponsor 500 masks

Now that it has become mandatory for everyone to wear a mask when they go outside, ERA has decided to go ahead and buy 500 masks for the less fortunate. Some will be given to residents at Emmarentia Eventide Home and the rest will go to Let’s Work for them to allocate to the shelters and other needy people in the area. The three-layered masks are being made by an Emmarentia resident. 

WOZA needs your support

Almost two years ago, when crime incidents had spiked yet again, ERA worked with local resident Paul Nogueira to develop a security app called WOZA. At the shake of a subscriber’s cellphone, a security company could be summoned to assist someone in need whether it was a security situation or a medical emergency. What made the app more special was that, as long as you had your cellphone with you, it could be activated almost anywhere across the country. In addition, Paul agreed to donate a certain percentage of income received each month and pay it across to Let’s Work, the NPO run by Felicity Gratz-Lawlor. To date more than R3000 has been transferred to the NPO while shopkeepers on Greenhill Road who have subscribed to WOZA have used it to summon security help when needed.

However, Covid-19 is impacting our lives in ways we did not anticipate. Paul has just received notification that there will be a four-fold increase in the costs that the security services will charge and this poses a real threat to the continued offering of the service. As he explains, ‘this has always been a low-key ‘community’ project, as opposed to a profit-driven project for me, but there is a limit beyond which I am unable to continue to support it – that limit will be breached by this proposed increase.’

As ERA we believe that this is an initiative worth supporting. Moreover, we believe that once lockdown is over there is a very real chance that security will need to be increased as the devastating results of Covid-19 start to take effect. Subscribing to WOZA is one way in which we believe we can all be proactive and prepare for what is to come.

To this end ERA and Paul are requesting all residents who are currently not subscribed to the service, to consider registering their commitment to subscribe. If he can double his current 90-odd subscribers, it would enable him to go to the suppliers of the national armed response service and attempt to negotiate a lesser cost increase with them.

If he fails, Woza will be shut down at the end of May (or when the last subscriber has enjoyed a full month since their last payment; annual subscribers will receive pro rata refunds). Such a situation would be extremely sad considering the effort put into developing an app for the suburb and the useful service it is currently able to provide. For more details and to show your commitment click here: https://tinyurl.com/yxftdgog

Concern over domestic workers and gardeners returning to work

ERA has been approached by a number of residents who are concerned that some domestic workers and gardeners who commute on a daily basis seem to be back at work despite regulations that clearly state that this is only allowed at Level 2.

The regulations state that*:
a)ALL live-in domestic workers may return (but once they return, they may not commute home until the alert level is lowered)
b)Any domestic worker who is responsible for the care of children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, physical or mental illness may return to work.
c)No ‘live-out’ domestic worker whose duties do not include caregiving as stated above may return to work. Not even for L4 permitted workers. This was part of the provisional regulations but was removed on publication of the government gazette. (Cleaning services are allowed under Level 4 so you could consider getting in a cleaning service)
d)No ‘live-out’ gardeners may return to work under Level 4.

If your domestic worker falls under b) above she will need to carry her ID and wear a face mask, especially while travelling with public transport and practice social distancing. She will also need:

-you to complete a ‘permit to perform an essential or permitted service’. Find it here (https://1drv.ms/w/s!AmkYi-wWUkfyhzyyqKx3Ukc-3U_P?e=llje8y), fill it in and print it out for them (or get it printed at a print shop – some are now open);
-copies of both you and your partner’s ‘essential workers’ permits’;
-proof of where they live;
-proof of residence of you the employer;
-a cover letter from you the employer stating that they are your ‘childminder’.

Remember they have to be home by 8pm and cannot leave before 5am so their working hours will have to be adjusted to accommodate them (8am – 3pm seems to be the norm).

We urge you not to allow domestic workers and gardeners falling under c) and d) above to return to work. By allowing them back to work and to commute daily you are opening up their family and your family to the threat of contracting Covid-19. Their families may be much less able to bear the disease especially if your employee is the one and only bread-winner and contracts the virus. Likewise if a member of your household is elderly or immune compromised you are also making them more vulnerable.

If your domestic worker or gardener is not able to start work yet, we encourage you to try and continue supporting them. If you’re unable to do this, apply for the special UIF grant that is available. https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/ or phone UIF on 0800 030 007 for details.

*Note: Thanks to SweepSouth and to Councillor Hensman for much of this information

Some other useful tidbits

  • The informal reclaimers are back at work

Please try and do these things to help keep everyone safe:

  1. Where possible keep recyclables for a few days before putting out to be collected. This will help reduce the possibility that they are contaminated
  2. Please put used tissues in a separate clear packet in your rubbish so that reclaimers don’t touch it when they are going through your rubbish
  3. If you can, please put out buckets of water with soap that reclaimers can access.
  • Snake bites cat in Emmarentia garden

Please be aware… An Emmarentia resident’s cat was bitten by a rinkhals in their garden in Shengani Road. The cat is recovering but residents are warned to be on the lookout for the snake which is still at large. If it comes into your garden, if possible, please call a snake catcher to come and catch it and release it somewhere where it won’t bite pets and people. We know of these two snake catchers in the area – Dion – 082 997 2726; Greg – 082 926 5684.
Download the African Snakebite Institute app (free on Google Play and App Store). It gives very useful information with photos of the snakes, their characteristics, first aid and medical info as well as names of snake catchers nearby.

  • Testing for Covid-19

On 5 May, the Gauteng health department announced that it was increasing its testing of those most at risk of contracting Covid-19 i.e. older people, people with other medical conditions eg. diabetes, asthma and heart disease even if people don’t have symptoms. It hopes to ramp up testing to 3000 per day. The closest government testing station is Parkhurst Clinic which is free; the private sector has many testing stations that have been advertised extensively in the media.

  • CAP nails cellphone mugger

Thanks to prompt reporting by a Greenside resident of a cellphone theft, CAP were able to use their licence plate recognition masts to follow the getaway car to Savoy where it was apprehended and the perpetrators arrested. Well done CAP! Please make sure you report any criminal incident immediately to one of the security companies and open up a case at SAPS.

  • CPF to start Soup Kitchen 

Parkview CPF has put forward a proposal for a soup kitchen to service the Parkview Precinct, it has been accepted and will be rolling out soon. We will keep you posted on this project and how to asssist. 

If you 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, just a reminder 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: treasurer@era.org.za with your surname and telephone number as your reference together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form below – https://era.org.za/join-era/  

Covid-19 – How you can help – 14 April 2020

Dear Emmarentia residents

What we suspected would happen, has happened and on Thursday night 9 April, the President took the difficult but correct decision to extend the lockdown until the end of April. We were heartened by his statement that both he and the cabinet would be donating a third of their salaries to the Solidarity Fund for the next three months. 
In this spirit of giving we have drawn up a list of organisations that are doing special Covid-19 work (some of whose names were supplied by our own residents) that are in need of your support. You will find the list here:  https://era.org.za/covid-19-how-you-can-help-11-april-2020/

We know you’re generous, we’ve seen your huge response to the request for food, bedding etc. for the new shelter in Windsor.

The list of organisations we’ve drawn up is diverse. It ranges from the official Solidarity Fund and large NGOs with national reach like Gift of the Givers to other much smaller and localised ones. Some need cash donations, others need expertise, there’s also a site that caters specifically for children and has projects where children can volunteer.

We are sure that we have left some organisations out and if we have, we do apologise and urge you to send us details so that we can add them to the list.

Children’s activities during lockdown

We know that almost three more weeks without school is going to be a challenge for parents and children. Some of you have older children and have access to computers and data and school lessons should start soon online and this should relieve the pressure a little.
It’s the young ones with boundless energy that are missing their school friends that will be the real challenge. And many of you will be trying to juggle work from home while trying to entertain little ones.
Please share with us how you are keeping your children entertained/busy. Share your tips and tricks, perhaps it’s a special website, a game, or anything that’s created excitement in your home. E-mail us on info@era.org.za or on our Facebook page – Emmarentia Residents Association. We’d also like to know any websites that don’t require data and that children can access for free. The next newsletter will put all this info together, hopefully in the next week. Please send to us by Thursday 16 April.
And if you have extra toys, books, puzzles that you have to donate, please let us know. Or if you know of any young children in the suburb who are not able to go to school because of lockdown and who don’t have many toys and play things but who would benefit from them, please let us know and we will see how we can connect the two.

And remember, wear masks when you go out.

Note: Thanks to Parkview Residents Association for some of the information included in the list of organisations.

Donation-Projects.14-4

Events at Marks Park and Jhb Botanic Gardens postponed until further notice

Following on from the closure of parks due to Covid-19, all events planned at Marks Park and Jhb Botanic Gardens have been postponed until further notice.

ERA AGM postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19

The ERA EXCO have taken the decision to indefinitely postpone the AGM due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent concern over large gatherings of people. 

We will continue to assess the situation and inform you when the AGM will take place.

We would also like to inform you that the planned Run Zone event that was to take place on the 22 March has also been postponed. We surmise that other planned events in and around our suburb and in Marks Park/Botanical Gardens will also be postponed or cancelled. We will communicate this with you all as soon as this information becomes available to us. 

Stay safe! 

Emmarentia Parks closed – official notices

Dear Fellow Residents,

Please be aware that the City, in line with the national declaration of a state of disaster, announced at 16.00 that the Dog Walkers Park and the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens will not be accessible from tomorrow (19 March 2020).

We apologise in advance for the multiple emails emanating from us in such quick succession, but please be assured that we do not make such decisions lightly and are only doing so in the interest and safety of all our affected residents.

Please stay safe!

See the Mayor Geoff Makhubo’s statement on Covid-19 https://era.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-Final-Statement-of-the-Executive-Mayor-of-Johannesburg-on-COVID-19.pdf

See the Regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 https://era.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/43107_18-3_COGTA.pdf

See the notice below released by Joburg City Parks and Zoo on 19 March 2020

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Traffic Alert – Stop-Go on Gleneagles Road, Greenside – from 18 Feb 2020

Gleneagles construction is starting: Gleneagles road will operate a Stop and Go between Barry Hertzog and the traffic circle on the East bound lane from 18 February as and when circumstances dictate, as there will be heavy trucks operating at the circle.

Please consider avoiding Gleneagles if possible or be patient while traffic is managed.

Contact Greensideclo@gmail.com for any queries.

Where to send electricity meter readings

Meters for Region B March Billing Period will be read from 22-29th of Feb 2020.
Customers may also send readings to the following email addresses with the Account number, Address and Meter # to:
• Email: spencermph@gmail.com or spencer@pmmas.co.za

• SMS: 076 016 7031

• WhatsAp: 071 002 6543

Customers are also more than welcome to call, SMS or WhatsAp any of the above numbers so they can arrange for an appointment for their meters to be read.

ERA Annual general meeting

All Emmarentia residents welcome to attend the annual general meeting of the Emmarentia Residents Association.

The meeting will take place at Marks Park on 11 March 2020 from 18h30 for 19h00 in the Pavilion Room. Come a bit earlier and meet fellow residents.

We need new blood on the ERA Exco so that we can represent you better. New ideas and volunteers are always welcome.

Membership fees per annum:

  • R350 per household (R200 for pensioners)
  • R950 for businesses

2020/21 Resident Access Pass car stickers (2 per household) will be available at the AGM (proof of residence required)

Guest speaker to be announced closer to the time.