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Rowdies ruin park

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People can still park their cars in the main road and walk to the park any time of the day or night.

The municipal park in Royldene.

“The plan was to erect two boom gates to close the entrance and exit of the crescent to vehicles. We understand that this is a public road, but it is not a main thoroughfare. The only people who use the road are the residents who live here,” Louw said.

He explained that the problem was not the park itself.

“We do not want to limit access to the park – people are welcome to use the park 24/7. People can still park their cars in the main road and walk to the park any time of the day or night.

“The problem is with youngsters who park their cars in the road, adjacent to the park. They don’t go into the park, they just throw their bottles, drug paraphernalia and used condoms in the park. I have even picked up used condoms in my garden. What we want is just to prevent vehicular access into the road adjacent to the park where people sit and party from their cars.”

Residents state that they have had several meetings with the authorities regarding the issue to no avail.

“The maintenance committee decided that after 10 years, and spending more than R700 000, we are no longer willing to put more money or effort in if the municipality is not prepared from its side to do something about the issue.”

Promises have been made in the past by the Kimberley Public Police Forum, the SAPS and the traffic department to assist but, according to the residents, nothing has been done.

“We understand that the police do not have the manpower as they only have something like six vehicles to cover the whole of Kimberley and Galeshewe, while the traffic department doesn’t want to get involved as they say it is not their work. It is an extremely frustrating situation to be in.”

Louw’s sentiments were echoed by other residents in the area, who said that they even tried putting up boards that drinking in public is an offence, but nothing has been done.

“As residents, we do not know what to do any more. We have tried everything. It is exactly the same situation as the Oppenheimer Gardens night after night.”

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie confirmed that permission to erect a fence between Leeuwenhof Avenue and Libertas Crescent was granted, in writing, in 2016 when the former Sol Plaatje municipal manager, Goolam Akharwaray, commended the Royldene residents for the initiative.

Matsie added, however, that the approval for the application to block off Libertas Crescent with access gates was still pending.

“The new mayor, Patrick Mabilo, has stated that the processing of applications like these will be speeded up in the new year.”

He added that initiatives where residents took responsibility for parks in their areas was one that was encouraged by the municipality.

“This was one of the best looked-after parks in the city and is part of the council’s aim to beautify the city. It is unfortunate that the initiative is being thwarted by the deviant behaviour of some people who believe it is their right to party and drink in public and get up to other unacceptable social behaviour.”

Matsie said that no person should be subjected to loud, pulsating music, swearing and partying outside their private homes until all hours of the night.

“If someone wants to do this, they should do it in front of their own homes. This is not a political or race issue – it is an issue that highlights social ills prevalent in our communities.”

He further appealed to parents to take responsibility for their children.

“I have seen for myself that often those in the parks are school-going children who are bunking school and getting up to mischief in parks where they can hide away easily.”

Matsie stated further that because this park belonged to the municipality, the local authority had started with efforts to ensure that it didn’t go to ruin.