Own goal as park equipment stolen to make goal post

Abie Clayton says he caught these boys dismantling equipment in Bramble Way Park.

Teens have torn apart a wooden jungle gym and platform for children to play in a Bonteheuwel park to fashion makeshift soccer goal posts from the poles and planks, says a resident who took photographs of the alleged vandalism.

The City of Cape Town spent R200 000 on improvements, including the jungle gym and other play equipment, at Bramble Way Park, two years ago.

Abie Clayton, chairman of the Community of Bonteheuwel Association, says he was driving past the park on Wednesday March 30 when he noticed boys dismantling the jungle gym.

He stopped and asked the boys what they were doing. He said loose planks and a hammer were lying nearby.

“The boys said they were not doing anything and they spoke a lot. I took pictures of them and left. That same day, they built their own makeshift soccer goal post. I sent the pictures to the ward councillor.”

Ward councillor Angus McKenzie, said it was not the first time the park had been vandalised and in 2020 metal play equipment, including a slide, jungle gym, and merry-go-round, were stolen and vandalised, which had been replaced with timber equipment because of frequent theft.

He accused parents of covering up for their children when they committed crimes.

The ward budget was spent on public amenities that were then destroyed by members of the very community they were meant to benefit, making it hard to motivate for further resources in the area, Mr McKenzie said.

“We will continue trying to give Bonteheuwel the best that we can, but we need the good people to stand up and overpower the bad, so that crime in our area can decrease. People must learn to respect things. Residents asked for fibre and it was installed, and now half of the cables have been stolen,” he said.

Bishop Lavis police station spokesperson, Sergeant Samantha Adonis, said no one had reported the crime so no case had been opened.

“In instances like these, the court would usually decide what happened to the child,” she said.

Mr Clayton said he feared more vandalism would happen in the park until there was nothing left there.

“I went to the boys’ houses and I told their parents what they did and they spoke to their children and asked why they would do something like this? ” he said.

Mr Clayton says this picture shows the boys on their way home with pieces of the park’s equipment.

McKenzie said the matter was reported to the City’s sports and recreation department who must lay charges at SAPS because the City owns the park.