Upset over state of park

Residents say homeless people are doing drugs in the park.

Residents of Hatton Estate, Rylands, have accused the City of not maintaining a local park.

Latvan Road park’s play equipment is unsafe, homeless people are doing drugs on the premises and there have been several muggings, say residents who also complain about a molehill problem as well as grass that needs cutting and leaves that need sweeping.

“I remember 10 years ago, they installed a sprinkler system, but that only worked once and never again, and a total of R35 000 was spent on that project,” said resident Hamid Karachi.

People could break their ankles stepping on the molehills and he had had to replace his pool pump, and his gutter had been blocked because of leaves blowing onto his property from the park, he said.

“We also have vagrants who defecate here and it is very unhealthy. Our children cannot go to the park.”

Imam Hassen Walele said illegal dumping was another worry.

“Just last week, the homeless people were also fighting here – apparently over their ‘turf’,” he said.

Maliga Nair said the park was an eyesore and a blight on the neighbourhood.

“Some of us have grandchildren whom we cannot even bring to the park. It’s a beautiful park, and we need to turn it into a real meeting place for the community. Why must we go outside the area? We want to enjoy the park. It is also not safe, as a few people have been robbed here.”

About five residents met with their councillor, Aslam Cassiem, about the issue. They want a fence around the park, a walkway and solar lights.

Mr Cassiem said he had made R400 000 available for Latvan Road park as part of next year’s ward allocation. This money would only be available from around July next year, he said.

“The challenge with parks is that equipment and fencing are very expensive. The ward has R1m it receives for ward allocation projects, and I have seven areas in my ward to cover.”

Mr Cassiem added: “At another park, we spent R700 000 alone just for the fencing. The R400 000 might be too little to upgrade the park the way the residents want to, but we will see what we can do.”

The City of Cape Town told the Athlone News it was looking into the concerns raised by the residents, but it was unable to comment further on the matter by the time this edition went to print.