Hello Sandton!

11 October 2016 – About the Park

Many of you will have seen the new fencing at George Lea and the huge City operation to clean and clear the area last week. The new fencing from Cochrane Steel cost R1 million and this was funded from the backers of the Sandton Sports Club – this was the discounted total cost, as the fence runs for 1.4km!  The razor wire you see in parts of the club will be removed as the final pieces of the fence are installed over the next week or so. Fantastic to see the new fence up, it is a significant improvement and achievement am sure you will agree.

The City operation lasted five days and nearly 200 tonnes of rubble and rubbish were removed.  There is still a long way to go to rehabilitate this area, and it will likely need the assistance of Environmental Affairs and a river/ wetlands expert.  If you are interested in what is happening at the Sandton Sports Club, please members attend the AGM scheduled for Thursday, 27 October at 17:30 for 18:00.  Please we need community involvement to drive this initiative forward. If you are a member, you must please be there.  If you want to find out more, please email: admin@sandtonsportsclub.co.za

Many questions have been raised by both residents and surrounding resident associations’ regarding where the displaced peoples are going. A full report was conducted by the Displaced People’s Unit following a number of days spent at the park in partnership with the Lesotho Consulate. The SA government has granted Lesotho nationals a special dispensation until 31 December 2016 to get papers in order. To apply for this special permit, the deadline was 30 September.  The people living in George Lea Park were found to be as follows:

“On those two days of outreach the following concerns were recorded from the 172 residents assisted:

  • About 90 people did not have any form of documentation and 45 were assisted to apply for late birth registration (Birth Certificates);

  • 50 had all the necessary documents and applied for the Permit;

  • 51 had valid Lesotho Passports but have lost their IDs due to the hostile environment they live in and were thus assisted with application for Passports,

  • 26 had valid IDs and applied for passports”

Further regarding shelter:

  • The Basotho nationals at George Lea Park are not interested in shelter accommodation as it is far from the areas where they make a living and also that the rules and regulations of the shelter are stringent;

  • Some have indicated that they prefer staying in open spaces because landlords do not allow them to bring their recyclable materials in their yards as they attract rodents; they don’t collect and sell the same day;

  • Few have already indicated that they have started looking for cheaper rental accommodation in Alexander and Dieplsloot;

  • Other made it clear that they will identify another park close by and move into that Park. This is highly possible as some have already relocated from this park and have moved to a stream behind the Total Garage and Pick n Pay not far from George Lea Park still on William Nicole road.”

The Displaced Peoples Unit concluded they could do no more and passed it back to the City to make more shelters available closer to the city.  This is a long term issue obviously that does not solve the immediate issue.   All the councillors in the surrounding wards are aware and are working on it at City level.  There is only one shelter at the moment operational in Hillbrow that priortises SA citizens and which sleeps 150 people at a cost of R8.00 each per night.  As at 03 October, only 75 people were sleeping in it, which seems rather unusual.

As part of Ward 90, our neighbouring suburbs are affected by the George Lea clean up but the purpose of the clean up was not to solve homelessness but to clean the park.  As a community – both Parkmore and surrounds – we need to debate this longer term around if a shelter can and should be built – and the million dollar question, where?

Some of the other stakeholders we have been in discussion with recently include the Rosebank Union Church and Rosehave, the Hurlingham Glenadrienne Craighall residents association, the Lower Sandhurst Residents Association, Parkmore Crescent and both councillors Martin Williams and Vincent Earp.

Shandon Way Park
The local Cubs planted a vegetable garden in Shandon Way park recently and this is for everyone to enjoy – feel free to go and help garden, encourage your domestic workers who are interested and help yourself to vegetables.  The garden is being watered weekly by donated borehole water.

City Parks has not yet finished the installation of the equipment which is very frustrating. It is chased almost daily and the deadline has been given for 30 October to tie in with the Halloween Parade.

Field & Study
A big huge thank you to those who took part in Spruit Day 2016.  Special thanks to residents: Angela Stephenson and Gia Sinclair, together with the voluntary services again of Derek Bridle at Designer Gardens, Mike Baker the Parkmore Maintenance Man and Tiki at Eva’s Garden Design.  Also thank you to Sifiso who runs the Parkmore cleaning crew for volunteering his time on a Saturday to remove the refuse collected. There was a huge turn out in Parkmore and a great deal achieved including 20 trees planted and three truck loads of rubbish removed. Take a look at the Spruit Day page for photos and feedback.

24/7 Security has been briefed to monitor the use of the tap near the entrance to the Park as it is being used to fill up all sorts of things and even wash cars.  Please note it is a City tap.

On the 15th of October it is the next Field & Study market – if you haven’t yet had a chance to check this out, it is highly recommended as a great day out in the ‘hood.

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