Dust won’t settle until gangs do

Roadworks in Hallans Walk, Hanover Park, have been incomplete since July.

Hanover Park residents are fed up with trying to get rid of the dust in their homes from stalled roadworks, which won’t resume, the City of Cape Town says, until gang violence in the area dies down.

Mymoena Classen, 72, said she had to sweep and mop her home every day and wipe off her car as the dust from the roadworks in Hallans Walk settles on her furniture, walls, and floor.

She said the roadworks had started in July and had yet to be completed.

Ms Classen said the dust caused coughing and sneezing among the children and aggravated asthma.

“There was no problem with the roads before (but) now we have problems. They think we must just be satisfied with this,” she said.

Rachel Solomons has lived in the area for more than 40 years.

“I cleaned this coffee table last night; look how it looks again. The youngsters drive up and down so fast, and the dust comes into our homes. At our age, this is not fair that we must clean like this. People can’t even pull into their driveways properly because of the broken pavement. It’s almost Christmas and then what will we do?” she said.

Roslan Sampson, who also stays in Hallans Walk, said her sister and niece were both wheelchair-bound.

Ms Sampson said she struggled to push the wheelchair outside because of the gravel and uneven pavement and road.

“I am asthmatic, and this is making it worse. We are not satisfied with this,” she said.

Mushana Hendricks agreed.

“The guys who worked here said that because of gangsterism the work stopped and someone else said that the money was stolen, but we need to know the proper story because this is affecting us. There’s no shooting here ,so what are they talking about?” she said.

The City’s Mayco member for area central, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said the City apologised for the inconvenience, but the contractor could not place his workers at risk of gang intimidation, and work would only commence when it was safe to do so.

“The City of Cape Town has been plagued by gangs who are hell-bent on disrupting infrastructure projects that are intended to improve the lives of residents living in poor communities. The Hallans Walk project is one of many City projects where work had to be halted due to intimidation of contract workers and ongoing incidents of violence,” he said.

Mr Mamkeli said the roadworks were being done to rehabilitate the old road and build new pavements. The work in Hallans Walk was due to be finished by the end of the year but has been delayed by voilence.

“The contractor reported that his site staff were intimidated after starting the excavation in Hallans Walk. This intimidation and violence then spread to all parts of the site forcing the contractor to leave the site until the gang violence and intimidation are brought under control.”

Philippi police did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.