Normally the religious holidays coming up are a time to get together with family or friends or to share the special time with others in big and small gatherings.
Unfortunately Covid-19 is still with us and will be for some time.
Let’s all lower the third wave together. Let’s just keep doing what we have to do to stay safe from the virus so that we can all be here again next year.
Tackling the problems, one at a time
Emmarentia’s active WhatsApp groups are a good gauge of residents’ true feelings. Recently there was a lively debate about the litany of woes that we are faced with: potholes, loadshedding, water outages, petty theft, people sleeping on pavements, litter strewn across pavements, illegal dumping, verges unmown, a City that is short of money.
Residents bemoaned a city that doesn’t listen to residents’ concerns, power surges and outages that were playing havoc with freezer contents and appliances, while another described the uphill battle of keeping her corner clean. ‘I remove 200 illegal posters from my corner weekly. I have removed more PENIS ENLARGEMENT and Lost LOVER posters stuck onto our robots with superglue than I care to remember.
I clean up a urine soiled BUS STOP with a dustbin overflowing every single day or my cupboards and clothing would stink of urine … take a drive through Kensington and have a look at their corners – ours are not far off.’
The same resident put a challenge to ERA and to all of us who live in the suburb: ‘Want to volunteer a day or two ERA? Or ask residents to clean up just outside their own homes? While asking … ask them to stop dumping their garden garbage on corners … so much one could do to make our OWN space so much better if we all worked collectively as a neighbourhood.
Another resident took up this challenge without being asked. Unhappy with the state of the weeds on the path crossing the dam, he arrived with his garden shears, a rake and a bag and proceeded to clear the path of weeds and undergrowth – thank you Faizel, you’ve shown us the way.
Get involved. Join ERA. Help us take on issues that affect all of us who live in Emmarentia.
Start by following the example of the resident who cares for her corner. Make sure your own verge is clean and clear of rubbish, don’t dump your garden refuse on the corners and keep the pavement pathways clear so that pedestrians can walk safely on them.
And no we can’t always rely on Felicity and Let’s Work – her team is too much in demand right across the Ward, there are just too many things that need doing. We need to do what we can ourselves.
Note: As we were sending out this newsletter, we heard that another group of people, inspired by Faizel, had hired a team to cut back and clean all the weeds and overgrowth on the east side of the dam wall. Thank you to all
What are ERA’s immediate priorities?
One of our first priorities is to tackle the infrastructure – water, power and roads.
Arno Steinmuller, newly-joined member of ERA’s Exco and who now guides ERA’s infrastructure portfolio, has been busy assessing flow rates of persistent water leaks along different sections of Hill, Kei and Komatie Roads. He estimates that with some of the very bad water leaks that continued for days, Joburg Water was losing up to R80 000 rands worth of water a day.
We worked with the councillor, David Hensman. He submitted Arno’s reports. ‘There’s no budget for capex,’ came the reply from Joburg Water.
ERA sat in on the IDP session on March 3 2021 at which suburbs can request capex spend. Arno spoke of the water problem. We were impressed by the depot manager from Joburg Water who said she was aware of the extent of the problem, that parts of Emmarentia’s water pipes were still the original old metal ones that urgently needed replacing.
A few days later, an e-mail came to Hensman from Joburg Water saying that they were hoping to replace 7590m of piping in the next financial year that begins in June/July 2021.
Arno turned his attention to power problems. He examined the TSS on Hill Road near Mazoe. He sent his report to City Power via our councillor. “The substation is overheating, leaking oil and has a voltage output of 267V on one of the phases.” City Power followed up and confirmed that it needed to be replaced urgently as there appeared to be insulation damage and internal overheating of the transformer. As this newsletter went to print, City Power was still trying to secure budget to replace in this financial year.
ERA has also requested City Power to do an assessment of the Lotsani Road sub which regularly causes power surges damaging residents’ appliances and equipment. The sub also tends to blow fuses on a regular basis.
And then there’s the potholes. Drivers through Emmarentia have become used to driving on the right-hand side at the bottom of Komatie, on The Braids (near Hill Road), on Louw Geldenhuys (near The Braids) and numerous other roads in the suburb. That’s because where there should be tarmac, there’s just earth and sometimes gaping holes.
The vast majority of these ‘potholes’ are caused by water leaks in the road. The holes dug by Joburg Water are then meant to be reinstated by JRA.
Over the past year the ward committee has kept badgering JRA about the potholes and the failed reinstatements and the councillor has been raising the problems in the monthly ward councillor forum where senior managers of each utility are present. And residents have continued to report potholes to email@example.com
But nothing happened. All we heard was that ‘there is no asphalt’.
And then in March 2021 JRA released a press statement explaining the problem with its non-operational asphalt plant bought at great expense a few years ago. It set out its plan for dealing with pothole backlogs until the end of March and Emmarentia is on its spreadsheet. As we released this newsletter, some of the potholes have been repaired, but we are still waiting for the gaping holes of the reinstatements to be done.
2. Resisting the proposed Five Storey mixed use development on Barry Hertzog Avenue/ Gleneagles/Linden roads
The Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) to hear the merits of the proposed 5-storey development in Emmarentia resumed on March 12 2021. It was a chance for the developer to put his views on why the development should go ahead. On April 12, ERA and other objectors will have a chance to present their views. ERA/ GRA continue to oppose the development in its current form.
On March 12 the applicant spent the whole day presenting his case on why the Tribunal should approve the development. The development proposes a 5-storey mixed use development (4-storeys along the boundary with the existing townhouses below the Shell garage) with basement parking. It will accommodate 89 residential units, with 500 sq metres of commercial and retail. The latter will include a day hospital, shops, offices and medical facilities.
The developer argued that the development:
will curb pressure on the natural environment by utilizing land within the urban development boundary in a strategic location. It will also enable citizens to have access to green infrastructure without negatively impacting it.
will be located within the urban development boundary with high levels of access to amenities in close proximity.
will also address spatial inequalities and the city’s job-housing mismatch because of its location in relation to economic activity.
was in line with the city’s new nodal review plan which allows for increased density and encourages mixed use developments, including 5-storey ones like the one the developer wants to build.
will promote robust sustainable development through efficient densities and land use.
will enhance inclusivity and social mixing.
The developer’s traffic expert said that increased traffic would not be a problem in the immediate surrounds but that there could be increased congestion at the intersection between Tana and Barry Hertzog where an additional slip road could be added.
The ERA/GRA Team raised as problems traffic congestion issues, the lack of updated reports on the state of infrastructure as well as the fact that the height was incongruous with existing properties. The full details of residents’ objections including those of ERA and GRA will be heard on April 12 at the resumption of the Tribunal hearings. After that the Tribunal will have heard both sides and will make their ruling/decision probably some time in May.
‘Please be assured that we will present your views with well-researched, sound technical facts, great care and integrity as we know how upset, frustrated and angry many of you are about this development,’ says Gemey Abrahams, ERA’s town planning portfolio head.
Gemey added that, ‘We also appreciate that the communities were open to offering alternative development solutions for the site.’ Since 2014 ‘ERA and GRA have met many times with the city, residents and the developer to propose an appropriate residential development on the sites, to no avail to date.’
Thanks to objectors’ generous donations we were able to secure specialist lawyers and experts to guide our input. If you would still like to donate to help ERA pay these costs (or join ERA and boost our coffers that way) please pay to:
Send POP to firstname.lastname@example.org—reference: Tribunal
In the pipeline:
Cleaning and securing the shopping precinct on Greenhill/Komatie Road/Barry Hertzog
On March 30 ERA will meet with shopowners, the landlords, SAPS/CPF Parkview, security companies, Felicity from Let’s Work, to discuss how to secure the area better for shoppers and residents and tackle the problems of some troublesome carguards, theft of motor vehicles, cellphones, cleanliness etc… etc. More in the next newsletter.
Meet with Checkers management to talk about increased security in the parking area and surrounds
Meet the ERA team
We still need more volunteers to help ERA do all that residents want us to do. Young and old are the core of the ERA team and all of us lead busy lives involved with other things on top of ERA commitments. Some of us have full-time jobs or run their own professional practices, or are involved with other organisations.
Chairperson Ayanda Mjekula
Vice chair Vacant
Treasurer Brian Askew
Communication Claire Hoffmann
Green spaces and events Vacant
Infrastructure Arno Steinmuller
Newsletter, website Jenny Grice
Town planning, building plans, heritage Gemey Abrahams
We are in urgent need of:
* an IT expert who can help advise us on the technical aspects of our website which uses Word Press – we are sorely missing Cassim Boorany who admirably served this role but who sadly passed on earlier this year.
* someone who is prepared to hold the security portfolio and who will liaise with security companies, the Parkview CPF, SAPS etc.
We welcome anyone who’d like to help. You don’t have to hold a specific portfolio, you can just join us and support us on the many projects that we want to get involved in and are already involved in. E-mail email@example.com
What has ERA been busy with over the last year?
Managed and signed off numerous applications from residents for building changes in terms of the Heritage Act and Louw Geldenhuys family regulations.
Continually monitored requests from property owners for changes in density, removal of restrictions on properties and didn’t approve those that we believed weren’t in keeping with the suburb’s precinct plan (find our precinct plan here https://era.org.za/emmarentia-precinct-plan/
Appointed specialist lawyers, a traffic expert, infrastructure experts and a market analysis expert to oppose the developer at the City’s Tribunal. The developer wants to build a 5-storey residential, commercial and medical centre in the triangle of land bounded by Gleneagles, Linden and Barry Hertzog Avenue. The Tribunal will hear more evidence in April 2021.
Monitored and reported illegal land use/building.
Kept residents informed through regular newsletters, the ERA website and Facebook page and included information around Covid eg. resources for kids
Donated R1000 to Parkview CPF for SAPS Parkview for Covid-related safety equipment
During lockdown encouraged residents to support Ward 88’s Let’s Work project and other organisations that were in need of donations in cash or kind
Supported the Emmarentia Eventide Home with donations of masks, an infra red thermometer and an Xmas in July lunch (with generous donations from residents) to raise their spirits
Took part in consultations with City Parks and consultants over plans to rehabilitate the top two dams in the dog-walking section of the park and pointed out several problems with the initial proposal and suggested changes. The plan was for the rehabilitation to begin in winter 2020 however Covid-19 delayed this
Organised sponsorship from Tyson Properties for a ‘please pick up after your dog’ sign at the Orange Road entrance to the park
Gave evidence as an interested party in the legal case of the opposition by community members to the erection of a 15m Telkom tower in Marico Road. ERA listed the clauses in Emmarentia properties’ title deeds imposed by the Louw Geldenhuys family that were not complied with by Telkom and the Council.
Organised a virtual ERA AGM for all residents to give a report on ERA activities over the previous year.
NEWS – A stinky situation
One morning recently an Emmarentia resident is confronted with sewerage flooding in her garden from the mains outside her property. Again. For the 5th or 6th time in the last few years.
She follows the same procedure she normally does: inform Joburg Water and wait for someone to come and clear it. Later that day Joburg Water arrives: ‘sorry, we can’t do anything, we need to get Vumatel, we don’t want to break the fibre cables.’
Joburg Water phones Vumatel who arrives the next afternoon and says ‘it’s not ours’. The stinky stuff is still welling up in the resident’s garden. She sends a desperate appeal on whatsapp groups: ‘stop flushing!’ More inspection of the pipes – ah, the culprit is Link Africa. More frantic phone calls. Eventually later that afternoon, almost 36 hours later, Link Africa arrive with a high pressure truck and clear the blockage.
As the resident says: ‘Who thought it would be a good idea to place obstructions in the sewerage pipes?’
According to Greenside councillor Bridget Steer, the court agreed a while ago that telcom companies could use government infrastructure for their networks. This is apparently causing extreme difficulties for Joburg Water.
Joburg Water itself has a service level agreement that once the fibre company is notified they have 4-6 hours to come and clear. In this case Joburg Water had the incorrect fibre company on their list.
The resident is now armed with all relevant numbers and is prepared for next time just in case Joburg Water doesn’t come to the stinky party in time.
TIME FOR GIVING:
Gum poles on east bank of the dam
The east bank of the dam has been a long-standing problem in the suburb. Fishermen come on Fridays, drive their cars over the pavement, set up camp and stay for the week-end. Despite being told that camping is not permitted, they keep setting up camp often next to bakkies that drive right over the pavement. There are no ablutions, fishermen tend to leave their hooks and bait lying around and you can imagine what else. Things can get quite unpleasant between the residents, other users of the dam like the canoeists and the visiting fishermen.
Felicity and Let’s Work have been working hard and appealing hard for funds to put in gum poles that will prevent cars/bakkies driving down to the water’s edge.
Finally an Emmarentia resident who owns Orejen in Linden has offered to sponsor the gum poles while ERA is to sponsor the cement up to the value of R10 000, Arno from ERA has drawn up the plan and Jonte the tree feller will oversee the Let’s Work team installing the poles. Big thanks to all for their assistance. Donations still needed to cover the balance of the cement and to Let’s Work to pay for their labour. (Felicity Gratz-Lawlor – 082 568 1783.
Let’s Work NPO# 201-696; FNB A/c 628 0129 9472; Your reference: gum poles
2. Refurbishing the Emmarentia Eventide Home
Many of you may remember the wonderful Christmas in July function ERA and Kindness like Confetti (KLC) held last year at the Salvation Army Eventide Home for the Aged in Emmarentia. Thanks to the generous support of the community it was a huge success.
We are once again appealing to residents and businesses to assist with a huge project KLC is now undertaking at the home to revamp the rooms and common spaces which are in dire need of a facelift.
Input from designers and creatives.
Bed linen, wall paint, lamps, paint, curtains, wall art, rugs and soft refurb items.
Get a group of your friends together and sponsor the cost of redecorating one of the bedrooms;
sponsor a room as part of a departmental CSI project at work;
For more info on this exciting project and ways for you to get involved, message KLC on 072 675 1536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUR HELP NEEDED – BECOME A CPF PATROLLER OR A TRAIL GUARDIAN:
WANTED: Volunteer Parkview CPF patrollers
Parkview Community Policing Forum has been hard at work getting approval for CPF patrollers. Now they need volunteers to assist them.
What is a CPF?
A Community Police Forum (“CPF”) is a statutory body established in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the SAPS Interim Regulations and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act.
What are CPF patrollers?
CPF Patrollers are volunteers from the community.
What are requirements of CPF patrollers?
They need to:
have their fingerprints taken by SAPS,
wear an identification card,
adhere to a code of conduct and
adhere to all laws of the country.
What will CPF patrollers do?
They will spend a certain number of hours in their cars, patrolling the streets as “eyes and ears” for SAPS.
They go on patrols by reporting on and off duty at SAPS.
The patroller co-ordinator assists with logistics and SAPS requirements.
Patrollers will wear reflective jackets and use two-way radios to communicate with SAPS.
Rights of individuals in SA’s Bill of Rights are to be respected at all times.
Jozi Trails is a non-profit NGO that develops and maintains 37km of public trails and green space along the Braamfontein Spruit watercourse in Johannesburg. This includes Delta park.
What are Jozi Trails “trail guardians”
Endorsed by Joburg City Parks & Zoo, law enforcement authorities, CPFs and residents’ associations, Jozi Trails “Trail Guardians” will observe and report anything or anyone along the trail that looks suspicious so that local security service providers can come to check things out.
Who can volunteer?
You must be over 18 years old.
Any park user, walker, runner or cyclist can volunteer to be a Trail Guardian.
You can volunteer to do one or more shifts during the week. You may want to volunteer as a group so that you can patrol with friends or family.
What will “Trail Guardians” do?
Patrol the route from Conrad Drive to and around Delta Park. Patrols will happen twice a day, between 6h00 and 8h00 in the morning and between 16h00 and 18h00 in the afternoon.
Report anything that needs checking out. The Trail Guardians have no authority to do anything else.
Each group will have a MySOS panic button that allows them to instantly communicate with a central call centre that will dispatch the security company vehicle responsible for that section of the trail.
The Trail Guardians will patrol in groups of 4 during those times. Two groups patrolling per shift are planned.
If you are not yet a member of ERA, but want 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: email@example.com (Reference: surname and telephone number) together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form https://era.org.za/join-era/
The Tribunal Hearing for the 5 storey, mixed-use development on Gleneagles /Barry Hertzog will continue on Friday 12 March 2021.
Venue: Metro Centre, Ground Floor, Council Chamber Wing, Braamfontein
Time: 9.30am – 5.00pm
ERA and GRA are fiercely contesting the application for this development on behalf of the more than 2400 residents who objected to this development. We have been battling this issue since 2014 when an attempt was made to change our Precinct Plan to suit the development and then in 2015 when the development application was submitted. It is now before a Municipal Planning Tribunal for a decision. Please see an extract of the notice below and know that you are most welcome to attend in person. Already some have committed to be there to make a personal representation at the hearing, in addition to ours and we thank you for that. We have been assured that the venue will be safe and sanitised. We thank you for your ongoing support and be assured that ERA and GRA is doing its very best to represent your views on this development.
We also would like to urge all residents who have not yet contributed to the costs involved in employing experts and lawyers to assist us in dealing with this very serious issue, to please make a donation, however small.
The funds will be ring-fenced exclusively to defray costs associated with this action.
Please deposit whatever you are able to contribute (every rand will make a difference) to either the ERA or GRA accounts with Tribunal as your reference and please email us to let us know you have made this payment. Thanks in advance for your willingness to fight for what is best for our suburbs.
Regards Ayanda Mjekula (Chair ERA) and Judith Ancer (Chair GRA)
Emmarentia residents: ERA account: Emmarentia Residents Association
GRA Bank account : Account Name: Greenside Residents Association Bank: Standard Bank Savings Account: 007032137 Branch: Rosebank / 004205 Payment Reference: tribunal (and surname) Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you have made payment
There is an Online Community Based Planning Session taking place on the 3rd March and includes our ward. This an opportunity for residents to take part in a planning session on requesting Capital Expenditure projects, as well as seeing what is planned in the 2021/22 Financial Year.
Here is the information on the session should you wish to attend:
Online Community Based Planning Session to be held on Wed 3 March at 5pm This is for the following wards in Region B: 87, 88, 90, 98, 99, 102, 104 & 117 Click this link to attend the meeting on Wed 3 March: https://bit.ly/36SejzS
NOTE: There is another session for Wards 68, 69, 70, 82, 86 & 89 on Sat 27 Feb at 9am. You are welcome to attend it, but the focus will be on these wards. Click here to attend this meeting: https://bit.ly/2LyoylE
This is our Ward’s chance to take part in a planning session on requesting Capital Expenditure projects and to see what’s planned in the 2021/22 Financial Year. You can join Ward 88’s meeting online on 3 March at 17h00. (Wards 87, 90, 98, 99, 102, 104 & 117 who are also part of Region B will also attend)
Things that fall under Capital Expenditure include:
Sewer & water pipe replacements
Storm water upgrades
New traffic lights
Fencing of any parks and storm water drains
Upgrading of sub-stations
So if you want to get a project on the budget radar, this is the meeting you MUST attend.
NOTE: There is another session for Wards 68, 69, 70, 82, 86 & 89 on Sat 27 Feb at 9am. You are welcome to attend it, but the focus will be on these wards. Click here to attend this meeting: https://bit.ly/2LyoylE
ERA is deeply saddened by the sudden death of Cassim Boorany. Cassim had been on the executive of ERA since 2015 after he had been brought in as an IT expert to help assess all the proposals ERA received from potential fibre service providers. After Vumatel was appointed, he then assisted with the tough job of trying to get residents to give their support to the initiative.
He held the dual portfolios of IT and deputy chairperson and in these roles showed his strong commitment to the community.
“He was a pillar of support in the heated discussions around the proposed development on the corner of Gleneagles Road and Barry Hertzog Avenue,” remembers Geraldine Connell, a past chairperson of ERA.
With his IT know-how, he helped coordinate the huge number of objections (more than 2400) to the Gleneagles/Barry Hertzog development that then had to be submitted to the City. (ERA is still fighting this case at the City’s Tribunal hearing)
Cas often worked behind the scenes – the new website is thanks to him. He worked on the complicated aspects – the set up, the design, the look-and-feel, so that as IT ‘non-experts’, we could take it over and just add new bits to it. Likewise the mailchimp system where we have a database of residents and objectors that we can easily communicate with, is also due to him.
When Covid lockdown hit us all, he organised an on-line AGM so that the AGM could go ahead as required by the Constitution.
He was always the one we turned to when we received an e-mail in IT gobbledygook which he then interpreted for us and advised us on what to do.
Nothing was too difficult for Cas. He always had exciting ideas about how to solve a myriad of problems. Sometimes the solution that he was going to provide could take a long time. This was because his commitments and interests extended across a wide field. For the past 10 years Cas had been involved in workplace investigations, forensic analysis of computers, smartphones and tablets. He was also an arbitrator and mediator and had chaired many disciplinary enquiries and in other situations, represented parties in disciplinary enquiries. Despite all this work he was also studying for an LLB. Little wonder that it could take a while for him to deliver what ERA wanted at no cost to the organisation.
Even though he had resigned towards the end of 2020, he had just recently shared all the IT passwords that ERA would need with us and had assured us that he would always be there when we needed. Such a gesture indicates his generosity of spirit.
Cas was a principled person and had strong views on things and how things should be done. He was not afraid to call us out when he thought we were not taking all issues into account and he always offered additional insight that we often didn’t have. The drafting of a Code of Conduct for Exco members is also thanks to him.
ERA is the poorer for his passing. We will miss him in so many ways. ERA extends our deepest sympathy to his wife and family.
The Tribunal hearing to hear argument for and against the proposed mixed use development bounded by Barry Hertzog, Gleneagles and Linden Roads was postponed after one of the City’s planning staff that was to attend the hearing tested positive.
The next sitting of the Tribunal will take place on 12 March 2021.
We would like to remind all objectors and concerned residents that they can attend the hearing which will take place at the Metro Centre – the room is on the Ground Floor of the Council Chamber Wing and we must be there at 9h30 (you must allow yourself at least 30 minutes to get to the meeting room). We have been assured that the room will have been sanitised and that doors will be open for air circulation. We expect it could continue for the full day. (For more details about the background to the development see here: https://era.org.za/tribunal-on-mixed-use-development-to-resume-january-2021/
Be assured that the ERA and GRA is aware of all the objections you raised and we have been and will continue to do our level best to act in your best interests and those of our beloved suburbs.
We would like to inform you that there has been an application for the removal of restrictive conditions and amendment of land use scheme (rezoning) for ERF NO: 1093 – 20 Linden Road Emmarentia.
The applicants are looking to develop 9 dwelling units on this property and are therefore applying for a Residential 2 zoning.
The site is a relatively large one for Emmarentia (approximately 2 500m2) and is located in an area that is designated for medium density residential development in our Precinct Plan and in the Nodal Review Policy. The rights they are applying for are within the density requirements of the policies. The owner has indicated that they may retain the existing house and add additional townhouses on the property, not going higher than two storeys.
ERA has a preliminary view that the application is acceptable for our suburb and will add new residential opportunities for the area.
If you would like to object or make a representation with regard to this application, please do so as soon as possible as the cut-off date is the 3rd February 2021 (28 days from the date on which the application notice was first displayed).
These must be submitted to the owner/agent and the registration section of the department of development planning at the above address or posted to PO Box 30733, Braamfontein, 2017, or a facsimile sent to (011) 339 4000, or an email sent to email@example.com no later than 3 February 2021 (28 days from the date on which the application notice was first displayed). The email for the applicant is firstname.lastname@example.org and please also send a copy of your submission to ERA.
You can contact ERA for more information. Below you will find the applicant’s motivation report, the City’s response as well as other pertinent documents. If you have any questions regarding this application please e-mail email@example.com.