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

The Emmarentia Post, No 3, September 2021

The Official Publication of the Emmarentia Residents’ Association

Dear residents

The Covid-19 epidemic has shaken the foundations of our lives. Many of us have lost loved ones, many of our businesses have suffered as we are buffeted by the pandemic. Students and schoolkids have had to get used to bouts of virtual teaching/tutoring. Many of us with jobs have delighted in the opportunity to work from home but have missed the camaraderie of the office. ‘Social distancing’ has become a normal word for all ages, mask-wearing and spraying of hands is second nature to young and old.

In mid-July, the unrest that hit parts of Gauteng and KZN further unsettled us. It has caused us all to take stock of our lives, how we live and how our lives affect others. Latest unemployment figures show that unemployment is at its highest level ever and with few prospects of many youngsters ever finding jobs. The economy is buckling under pressure.

In these unpredictable times, we can do a number of things to root ourselves and steady the uncertainties in our lives:

* Get vaccinated – Parkhurst clinic provides free Covid testing and vaccinations; there are numerous private vaccination sites close by like Milpark, Dischem Victory Park, Mays Chemist, the drive through at the Houghton Masjid.

* Join the Emmarentia Residents Assocation (ERA) https://era.org.za/join-era/ – feel part of a wider community

* Sign up for our e-newsletter https://era.org.za/subscribe/ to keep abreast of what’s happening

* If you’re worried about the crumbling infrastructure in our suburb, join the ERA infrastructure WhatsApp group set up by ERA where you can raise your concerns: whatsapp Nina Zylstra 083 564 4435 to request to join.

* Join a WhatsApp group in Emmarentiahttps://era.org.za/join-a-whatsapp-group-in-your-street/ – they are founts of knowledge on: strange noises at any hour of the day or night; the latest in the antics of criminals and how to secure yourselves; first-hand references for plumbers, tilers, painters, electricians; Covid testing and vaccination sites and everything in between.

* Be aware of anything suspicious and phone it in (see CRIME section below)

TRIBUNAL – One last session?

We had hoped that the August Tribunal hearing on the mixed-use development on the properties on the land bounded by Gleneagles, Barry Hertzog and Linden Roads would be the final hearing. However it was not to be. The half a day allocated proved to be too little.

We hope that the continuation date of 20 September will hear the final arguments from both sides so that the City can then make a decision.

Every extra day of hearings means extra charges for ERA and GRA to make our voices heard. We once again appeal to Emmarentia residents to either donate to ERA for the costs of the Tribunal, or, if you are not already an ERA member, to join us.

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

Banking details:

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

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

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

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

[Erratum – We erroneously posted on our website https://era.org.za/2021/08/17/continuation-of-tribunal-on-mixed-use-development-25-august-2021/ that there had been over 4000 objections to the mixed use development. This should have said 2479 objections. (We have corrected the website story)]

CRIME – Call it in!

The brazen assassination of whistle-blower Babita Deokaranin broad daylight just after she’d dropped off her teenage daughter has horrified us all. Deokaran had reported fraudulent Covid-19 contracts in the Gauteng health department where she was the acting chief financial officer.

Just four days later police arrested seven suspects who have now appeared in court. The police couldn’t have done it without her proactive neighbours. One neighbour reported they had seen the same BMW taking photos of Deokaran’s house on three separate occasions before she was killed. The neighbour took photos of the suspicious vehicle. This ‘vital piece of information enabled investigators to trace the vehicle to a former SANDF member residing in the Pretoria area’, reported the Daily Maverick on August 31.

We can do the same in our neighbourhood. Call in any suspicious activity: CAP 082 366 1852 (or your security company); SAPS PARKVIEW – 071 675 6062/ 071 675 6063.

  • Uptick of some crimes:

Watch out for:

  • theft of gate motors
  • an automatic gate was lifted and the group of men who’d arrived in a charcoal blue hatchback attempted to break-into a house,
  • a security gate was broken with a pick and residents were held up at gunpoint; thieves demanded jewellery and cash.
  • muggings of cyclists and walkers in green spaces continue with the major hot spot being the southwestern corner of the Botanic Gardens at the corner of Judith and Beyers Naude. Most common time is first thing in the morning after the park is open and late afternoon when the park is about to close. And more worrying, more of these attacks are being carried out by men armed with knives and guns.

On September 8, Geraldine Connell chairperson of the Parkview CPF met again with Botanic Gardens to try and plan what to do after the most recent attack. The difficulty is that the shift changes happen at 6am, exactly when the attacks happen. Mabotwane will try and place a vehicle there overnight and the shift change will take place there at a guard hut.

Geraldine will also discuss the situation with SAPS to find out when their members can patrol and organise other interventions.

If you’re a walker, leave all valuables at home, be vigilant, don’t walk alone and remember the park is open 6am – 6pm.

Theft of infrastructure continues to plague us with copper cables stolen from the Telkom box corner Barry Hertzog/The Braids which affected 400 Telkom telephone lines and internet across Emmarentia and Greenside. On 7 September, Open Serve technicians who have been there almost every day trying to restore lines since August 24, reported that of the 156 telephone lines that were down, 56 were still to be reconnected.  

The Botanic Gardens also suffered when cables from the sub-station that supplies the park were stolen, the pump house that operates the rose garden fountain was vandalized and all the cables and switches stolen.

  • Parkview CPF beefs up its patrollers

The July unrest that hit KZN and Gauteng in July resulted in more Emmarentia residents volunteering to join the Parkview CPF. However the vetting process can take long so when there were rumours of further unrest on 23 August 2021, ‘the CPF decided to be proactive to speed up the vetting,’ says CPF chairperson, Geraldine Connell.

A communication channel was opened with representatives of businesses in each suburb of the precinct so that a speedy message could be sent to all in case businesses needed to take swift action. A fast-tracked criminal check was done on the ID numbers of those citizens who had registered their interest in becoming patrollers, in the event that they needed to be deployed urgently.  Another communication channel was set up using the Telegram app for anyone who wanted to be notified of unrest via the CPF from SAPS. Fortunately there was no need to take any action.

Because there were many more volunteers who signed up to join the patrollers, two additional days have been booked with SAPS for taking fingerprints: Saturday 4th and 11th September. After the fingerprints have been sent to the Local Crime Record Centre, they will be sent to Provincial SAPS for final clearance. After this, the CPF will be scheduling patrols of the area which should help SAPS keep crime down by having additional eyes and ears on the ground.

If you would like to find out more, contact Geraldine Connell chair@parkviewcpf.co.za

  • Do you live near a vacant property?

CAP is asking for help to map all vacant properties and building sites in the suburb. According to CAP, ‘Criminals use vacant properties within our suburbs to their advantage, which means that sometimes they are hiding in plain sight.’

Please help by letting CAP know who these properties belong to and where they are. CAP needs consent to search these sites. If they know who the owner is they can verify with them who should be found in these spaces. Email info@capcommunity.co.za   

Failing service delivery

A friend who lives in Westdene said the other day: ‘If we have a day when we have water, electricity and wi-fi, it’s time to celebrate.’ Sadly Emmarentia is becoming this way too.

New mayor Jolidee Matongo has promised “accelerated service delivery”. “Street lights must work, burst sewers fixed and overgrown grass cut. As politicians, ours is to have oversight over things we said must be done,” the mayor has told his team.

He also said, “I don’t want to hear depot people saying they don’t have material. Budget has been allocated. It must be spent. Materials must be bought and made available at the stores.”

He’s saying what we want to hear – it’s time to test if his promises are real.

The ward committee is requesting residents who have previously sent in requests for service to Joburg Water, JRA, City Power or tree trimming but which have never been attended to, to please send details to info@ward88.co.za OR add them to this google sheet: https://forms.gle/9pU4SkityVyNEL9U7

 Details should include:

  • a very brief description of the issue
  • the complaint reference number
  • the location address/location
  • and the date of the complaint

The ward committee will then ensure that the relevant parties receive the complaint and cannot claim ignorance of the issue (and be reminded of their promise).

And keep reporting – no-one knows there is a problem unless you report it.

Check here: https://era.org.za/leaking-tap-loud-neighbours-sewerage-leaking-find-all-those-important-numbers-here/ to get the contacts for ‘Who to phone for pesky problems’  – from leaking water pipes, to illegal dumping, builders making noise on Sundays, etc. etc.

City News – Briefs

  • Portal to assist businesses affected by looting and vandalism

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) portal to assist businesses that were affected by the looting and vandalism is now operational. Businesses needs to submit their request for funding. It can be accessed on smme.gep.co.za

  • City extends debt rehabilitation programme to 31 December 2021

Send an email to debtrehab@joburg.org.za or visit www.joburg.org.za to access application forms/apply online. You can also visit any of City of Joburg Revenue Customer Services Centres.

  • Local government elections – Ward 88 councillor

Councillor Hensman has already indicated that he will not stand again as our councillor. Candidate lists will be made public in the next two weeks.

The Constitutional Court ruled that local government elections must take place between October 27 and November 1 2021. Election date has now been set for 1 November 2021. If you’re a first time voter or have moved house since you last voted, you can register at your nearest voting station on registration date or online on https://registertovote.elections.org.za/Welcome

Voting usually takes place at Emmarentia Primary School.  Make sure you’re there to make your mark.

Court orders evicting parties to allow homeless back into Alberts Farm

A recent court judgment over the eviction of four homeless people from Alberts Farm conservancy who have for years called it their home, has found in favour of the four.

The Ward 88 Committee is warning that this judgment has ‘far broader ramifications for potentially hundreds of people who sleep in parks and open spaces in Johannesburg because they are homeless or because it places them closer to economic opportunity as reclaimers, car guards or from piece jobs.’

The court declared the eviction ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’ and ordered the evicting parties to ‘return the Applicants’ possessions, including makeshift tents and building materials, wood, clothing, shoes, food, mobile phones, and waste for recycling, and any other items which were removed, as soon as possible’.

Should they be unable to return these possessions, the court ordered that the respondents — among them the City of Johannesburg Municipality, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, Chief of Police of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police, Pikitup, SCP Security and Friends of Alberts Farm Conservancy — are to “provide building materials, and blankets, bedding, and mattresses… as soon as possible, but by no later than Saturday, 21 August 2021” which would enable the construction of “at least equivalent temporary habitable dwellings to those that were destroyed and/or removed at the site in the Alberts Farm Conservancy at which their previous shelters were demolished”.

Moreover, the court ordered that the homeless people be allowed “full and unimpeded access to their temporary habitable dwellings and possessions, with immediate effect, by granting 24-hour access to, at least, one of the six gates of the Alberts Farm Conservancy, which gate or gates should be the closest gate or gates to their temporary habitable dwellings.”

The court also directed the parties “to meaningfully engage with each other to ensure that an equitable relationship and dignified relationship can be developed between the parties”.

If you are concerned by this judgment and the implications that it has on green spaces, please log a complaint or get hold of one of these people, or send to all of them.

Bishop Ngobeli – bngobeli@jhbcityparks.com – Responsible for Public Open Space and protected areas reporting to Marks Sethaelo.

Matome Baholo – mbaholo@jhbcityparks.com – Head  of Park Wardens, reporting to David Maluleke.

David Maluleke – dmaluleke@jhbcityparks.com – Head of department reporting to Marks Sethaelo.

Marks Sethaelo – msethaelo@jhbcityparks.com – Chief Operations Officer reporting to Bryne Maduka.

Bryne Maduka – bmaduka@jhbcityparks.com – Managing Director Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo

MMC  Margaret Arnolds – MargaretA@joburg.org.za

Mayor Jolidee Matongo – JolideeM@joburg.org.za

Deon Mynhardt – DeonM@joburg.org.za – Citizen Relations Officer

Mohau Ntheli – MohauN@joburg.org.za – Regional Director

Read the full Alberts Farm judgment here

Victory Road bowling club site becoming another Alberts Farm?

Meanwhile on the eastern side of Emmarentia, residents of Greenside and Parkhurst are growing increasingly alarmed at the inaction of the City on the number of homeless people that have moved into the derelict Victory Road bowling club and adjacent field.

The Greenside Residents Association has asked JMPD and environmental health to investigate the regular burning of plastic/ rubber/ noxious fumes coming from both the old bowling club and Wastepreneurs (whose ongoing illegal presence at Pirates creates ongoing problems).

The field adjacent to the bowling club has vagrants building shacks on it; as soon as these are removed new ones pop up, this has been a cycle for years. The concern of residents of the area is that this will snowball into the development of a full-on settlement of vagrants in the area. 

The properties are owned by the Johannesburg Property Company i.e. it is municipal land. There is a tender out for the bowling club but none has been awarded. Warning notices were served on the occupants in April however, no eviction happened since it appears that JPC failed to appoint approved legal counsel so there could be no issuing of the eviction notices or court orders.

According to councillor for the area, Tim Truluck, permission has been granted for City Parks to take over the old football field as a solarisation site for removed shothole borer infected trees. However, no date has been set down for this to happen. They will then remove the vagrants on that section.

In the meantime, Truluck suggests that residents keep logging complaints with JMPD on 0113755911 – get a ref # – so that there is a record of your complaint. Do this at least once a week. They will organise an occasional raid with SAPS. And if nothing is done or has been done, e-mail your reference to info@ward88.co.za with all the details of the service failure.

And now for some good news!

  • Saving a cat and its kittens

When a cat got stranded in a grid after it had climbed in there to have kittens, Greenside community patroller Bianca and SCP managed to remove the grid and save the cat and kittens.

  • Listen out for the ‘rain bird’

If you’re lucky you might get the rain bird or the Burchell’s Coucal visiting your garden. Normally it sticks to the wooded sections of the park and the river course but at this time of year, it’s often seen in people’s gardens, advertising itself with its distinctive bubbling call. See it and listen out for its call here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D22EwszPjE

Let’s Work’s plans for September 2021

  • Let’s Braai – help us make Heritage Day about community

Much of the work being done by Let’s Work might fly under the radar. With Heritage Day just around the corner, however, the team is heading out in full force to celebrate “National Braai Day” along with some of the less fortunate, as well as those still out patrolling our suburbs despite it being a public holiday.

Some of Let’s Work’s recent – and ongoing – initiatives include helping the homeless get back on their feet through paid work in and around the Parks area, where some can now even afford a roof over their heads.

Over the past few months, “My Covid Meals” facilitated the delivery of meals to residents who have been more severely affected by the virus and, thus, unable to cook for themselves. Daily meals are being sent out a week in advance. While things are slowing down on this front, Let’s Work’s Felicity Lawlor says the initiative is still very much available to those in need.

  • Heritage Day: In and around Emmarentia

In previous years for Heritage Day, Let’s Work organised a potjie competition at Gem Homes for Senior Citizens in Roosevelt Park, for example. This year, Lawlor says it’s about bringing the spirit of our cultural heritage to some of our senior citizens and our committed SAPS members.

“We’re currently organising supplies for Heritage Day braais at a number of locations in the Ward 88 area and need the support of the community to make this happen,” she adds.

Some of the braai locations that have been identified so far include the Windsor Homeless Shelter, Montgomery Haven, Eventide Salvation Army and Parkview SAPS.

Let’s Work can only support these community members through contributions from residents. While boerewors is being supplied by Let’s Work, there is still a need for bread-rolls, salads, cooldrinks and charcoal.

Residents can get involved by assisting with cooking. All ingredients will be supplied to those wanting to fire up the braai themselves. Alternatively, bread-rolls, salad and cooldrinks can be dropped off with Felicity. Let’s Work will ensure delivery to the various venues.

Any volunteers able to facilitate a braai for Parkview Police Station to support our dedicated SAPS officers working on the 24th of this month can get in touch with Felicity on the contact details below.
Learners are also encouraged to get in touch if they can assist in any way. These opportunities always contribute towards their needed community hours.

  • Drop off toilet rolls at Emmarentia Eventide

Please help Emmarentia Eventide residents by dropping off a few toilet rolls.

PLEASE CONTACT FELICITY TO GET INVOLVED: 082 568 1783; felicity@letswork.org.za

Donate to Let’s Work FNB cheque account, Let’s Work NPO#201-696; A/c 628 0129 9472 Your reference – your suburb (or whichever Let’s Work project you want to donate to)

[Please note: To save money and to be environmentally aware we are not printing this newsletter]

Continuation of Tribunal on mixed use development – 25 August 2021

Hopefully 25 August 2021 will be the last day of Tribunal hearings to hear evidence from both the developer and objectors on the merits and demerits of the proposed development on the triangle of land bounded by Barry Hertzog, Gleneagles and Linden Roads in Emmarentia.

The matter went to Tribunal after the City received 2479 objections to the proposed 5-storey mixed use development on Erven 1098-1106 bounded by Barry Hertzog, Gleneagles and Linden Roads in Emmarentia. 

ERA and GRA have been engaged in the Tribunal process since November 2020 and to date we have had four full days of hearings. The Applicant (the developer) has presented their expert evidence (e.g. Traffic studies) and ERA and GRA and individual residents in the suburb have taken to the stand to make their case. The hearings were done in person and there were many delays due to Covid-19. Final inputs from both sides will be made on 25 August at a virtual meeting.

ERA and GRA would like to thank all residents who have objected to this development and made donations towards the costs. We never anticipated that there would be so many days of hearings and this has stretched our resources beyond what we could reasonably have budgeted. We welcome any further donations, please (see banking details below). We have a strong case and are fighting this on behalf of each one of you who are concerned about this large 5-storey development and possibly feel disempowered to take on developer giants for the good of our suburbs. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and we eagerly await the conclusion of this seven-year long matter that we have been fighting for you.

Regards
Ayanda Mjekula (Chair ERA) and Judith Ancer (Chair GRA)

Please forward donations to:

ERA: Emmarentia Residents Association (for Emmarentia residents)
Nedbank: A/c: 1975051173
Branch Code: 198765 – Rosebank
E-mail POP to: treasurer@era.org.za
Payment reference: “Tribunal” (and surname)

OR

GRA: Greenside Residents Association (for Greenside residents)
GRA Bank account :
Account Name: Greenside Residents Association
Bank: Standard Bank
Savings Account: 007032137
Branch: Rosebank / 004205
Payment Reference: tribunal (and surname)
E-mail POP to: info@gra.org.za 

Come and watch, ‘Audrey, more than an icon’, Wednesday 25 August 2021

The Historic Documentary Film Society will host the movie in tribute to the legendary Audrey Hepburn in this 60th Anniversary year since the release of her classic movie ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’.

AUDREY MORE THAN AN ICON

Wednesday, August 25th

09:30/10:00

Ditsong Museum of Military History, Saxonwold. 

Secure Parking, Seating Limited (Level 3 Restriction) 

Bookings/INFO 0826033214

Nominal Charge to cover expenses (includes lavish tea). 

There are better ways to remember a loved one

Visitors to Johannesburg Botanic Gardens were shocked to find that someone had stripped away the bark of an old cork oak tree and inserted a memorial plaque into the exposed trunk. (see the photo below for what was done)

Park officials condemned the action saying that its bare bark now exposed the tree to disease and parasites. It appealed to those wanting to remember loved ones to rather plant a tree or donate a bench in their memory. (see the post below)

If you want to find out how you can plant a tree or donate a bench, contact Sandra Viljoen at the Botanic Gardens by e-mailing her on: sviljoen@jhbcityparks.com

Your help needed – complete survey on e-waste

ERA has received a request from a UJ student for residents to take part in a survey on e-waste. Please see the request below.

Dear Residents

Please see request for survey responses regarding e-waste in Johannesburg:

Good day, I am currently busy with my Honours degree in environmental management at the University of Johannesburg. My research is based on e-waste in the CoJ. I need around 500 responses for data quality so I would really appreciate it if you could just spend a few minutes completing my questionnaire IF YOU LIVE IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF THE CITY OF JOHANNESBURG (e.g. Randburg), not to be mistaken with the overall concept of Joburg. It’s simple but detailed as this type of research is severely lacking in South Africa. This is the link. If you wish to share it with local friends and family also living in the CoJ I would truly appreciate it.

Here is the link:

https://ewaste-survey.questionpro.com

Parkview CPF calls for patrollers

As looting and destruction hit KZN and parts of Gauteng, Parkview CPF released the following statement to those falling under the Parkview precinct assuring them that SAPS and security companies were working closely to ensure that the precinct was kept safe. It also urged residents that were keen to volunteer as community patrollers. ERA is in full support of this initiative and urges residents to take up the CPF’s request.

ERA also currently has a vacancy in its security portfolio and would welcome volunteer(s) to fill this important portfolio. The person would work closely with the patrollers, the CPF, SAPS Parkview and the security companies, more particularly, CAP. Anyone interested or for more info, please e-mail info@era.org.za

Letter-to-community-re-unrest.july-2021

Covid-19 – do you need help or can you provide help?

  • Do you need ready-cooked meals?

The Delta variant is amongst us. In some households, all family members have it. If you live in Ward 88 and need help with meals, contact Felicity Gratz-Lawlor from Let’s Work on 082 568 1783 or felicity@letswork.org.za. Many people in the Ward are cooking and dropping off meals with her so that security company, SCP, can drop them off with those that need.

  • Can you help cook meals?

A variety of meals are needed, (including halaal and kosher, vegetarian). Please label meals (some people have allergies) Containers are available if needed. Drop off details: 107 Preller Ave, Roosevelt Park, Times: Monday – Saturday between 9am – 2pm; Collection can be arranged if needed.

Food ready to go out to those households that need (soup is put in juice bottles)
  • How can you help local restaurants affected by new Covid regulations? Take a night off from cooking and order in.

Bircan Brunch Cafe: 082 3447152/ 082 339 4355 or Mr D

Fresh Earth: WhatsApp 082 761 9795 for collection or delivery; Also Mr D, Uber Eats or www.freshearth.co.za

Ocean Basket: 011 486 7866 or MrD or Uber Eats

Simply Asia: 011 486 0366/0466/0477 or MrD or Uber Eats

Nadeem Industry Bakery: 082 786 9779 – Call and collect or whatsapp orders accepted

(If other restaurants are still open please e-mail details to info@era.org.za or post details on Greenhill shops whatsapp group so that we can add details here)

  • Drop off food for food hampers for restaurant staff affected by restaurant closuresDrop off details: 107 Preller Ave, Roosevelt Park, Times: Monday – Saturday between 9am – 2pm; Collection can be arranged if needed. Foods needed: mealie meal, packet soup, samp, toilet paper, milk, baked beans, jam, tea, sugar, bread, pasta.
  • Buy a R50 food hamper from Greenhill Grocer between 1-11 July
  • Support Emmarentia Eventide Home – At least 10 of the staff/residents have tested Covid-positive. You can help by dropping off books, magazines at the Home (hoot at the gate, the bell doesn’t work) for those in quarantine OR by cooking and dropping off at 107 Preller Ave, Roosevelt Park, Times: Monday – Saturday between 9am – 2pm, OR by donating to Let’s Work who are coordinating meals. ERA has donated R1000 for food and sanitiser; thanks also to Hamaadi Labs who tested all residents and staff for free.
  • Donate to Let’s Work if you are unable to cook. They will buy food for others to cook or to add to food hampers for restaurant staff. FNB cheque account, Let’s Work NPO#201-696; A/c 628 0129 9472 Your reference – Covid-19

ERA supports this initiative wholeheartedly and urges those that can, to support it in any way possible.

The Emmarentia Post, No 2, May 2021

Tribunal to continue in July

Complexity of case has already required four days of hearings

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

May hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

July hearing

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

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

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

Cost

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

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

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

Appeal

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

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

Banking details:

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

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

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

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

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House fires—be prepared!

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

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

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

https://chat.whatsapp.com/FcH49LHpV3iHG2FM1HEoHV

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Briefs

·   Cemetery gets a clean-up

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

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

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

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

·   Greenhill Shops and carguards

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

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

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

·   Controlling invasives in Emmarentia Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

·   Beware in green spaces

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

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

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

Security vehicles will be in attendance.

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Covid-19 – The science behind Covid vaccinations

If you are grappling with questions like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

City News

* Debt relief to ratepayers suffering because of Covid-19

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

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

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

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ERA makes great strides in getting infrastructure fixed 

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

JRA

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

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

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

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

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

Please keep reporting to

Joburg Water

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

Please keep submitting water/sewerage leaks to

City Power

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

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

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

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

Knowing our neighbours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ERA needs you

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.era.org.za

Pay your membership fees to:

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

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

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

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Give ERA a few hours a month

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

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

ERA virtual AGM, 9 June 2021, 18h30-21h00

Come and hear Judith Ancer, Greenside Residents Association chairperson and psychologist talk about: The health benefits of active engagement in your community – a psychologist’s perspective 

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

Read the documents for the AGM here:

Agenda

AGM-agenda-2021.updated

Minutes of the 2020 AGM, 14 October 2020

minutes-virtual-ERA-AGM-14-October-2020

Chairperson’s Report

AGM-Chairpersons-Report-ERA-2021.AM_

Security Report

SECURITY-REPORT-TO-AGM

Treasurer’s Report

ERA-Financial-Report-2021

Town Planning, Building Control and Heritage Report

AGM-town-planning-heritage-and-building-report-2021-Gemey-Abrahams_

Infrastructure Report

ERA-infrastructure-report-AGM

Communication Report

Communication-Report-AGM-2021

Environment and History

history-and-environmental-report-to-agm.june-2021

Read the ERA Constitution here https://era.org.za/constitution/