‘Out of control’ canal closed

Juleiga George, Carmelita Hendricks and Alverina van Wyk, chairperson of the Pinati Estate Community Civic Association (Pecca), check on the construction site where the Blomvlei canal is being closed up.

Members of the Pinati Estate Community Civic Association (Pecca), are relieved that their 10-year battle to close up a section of the Blomvlei canal, is finally coming to fruition.

The canal was the scene of many illegal activities, including being used to smoke drugs, hide stolen goods, burn stolen copper wire, as well as dumping. What also concerned Pecca, was the amount of children using it as a playground, considering the dangers in and around it.

The canal runs under Turfhall Road, and the road borders Pinati Estate and Penlyn Estate. The section which runs through Pinati Estate, runs parallel with Lynath Road, and is now in the process of being closed up.

Chairperson of Pecca, Alverina van Wyk, said: “It has been more than 10 years that we struggled to get this canal closed. Somebody out there listened to us. The last two years were especially critical. Ward 48 councillor, Magedien Davids, was very involved in helping us with this. He often came to the site, he saw the copper burning, and how the people dumped. Former ward councillor, Junaid Hoosain, started this fight for us.”

Juleiga George, a former Pecca executive, said the situation at one point, “was out of control”.

“The illegal dumping caused a big stench and we had big problems with rats and mice infestation. We even had snakes here. Once I had to run away from the rats,” Ms George said.

Mr Davids said the request to close this section of the canal was submitted to council in 2015. The funding was secured and work was supposed to start in 2016.

However, no acceptable bids were received by the City during its supply chain management process, and the tender was cancelled.

“The project manager, Abdulla Parker, immediately initiated the supply chain management process again, and fortunately acceptable bids were received. Consequently, Nammic Western Cape was appointed on Thursday March 1. During March, the casting of the culverts took place off site and Nammic moved onto the site in April. It is hoped the project will be completed by June, weather permitting,” Mr Davids said.

Ms Van Wyk said now that the canal is being closed up, her organisation hopes that the City would build a park for the children.

“The children want to play. That is why they risked their safety to play in this canal. We have a big open space here, and this field would be ideal to build a park on. I’m all for children wanting to play. However, there are no facilities here for the children from this community. This is a field that they need,” she said.

The Athlone News contacted the City of Cape Town to ask about the possibility of building a park in the area, but at the time of going to press, no response was received.