Oakdene public spaces ‘in shocking condition’

COMPLAINT: Ward 56 councillor Michael Crichton and Oakdene Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Tony Rodriguez want to bring change to the area.

A neighbourhood in the south of Johannesburg is demanding more from the city.

The Oakdene neighbourhood has become neglected, says Oakdene Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Tony Rodriguez. He is referring to the neglected grass growing on roadsides, the illegal dumping, clogged sewer drains and street lights that need urgent attention.

“The city keeps increasing rates and taxes, but the level of maintenance keeps decreasing,” Rodriguez said.

He said the neighbourhood watch has been forced to do some of the maintenance in the area themselves – out of their own pockets – in an effort to keep the area clean. He added that property values were on the decline as the condition of some areas was shocking.

OVERGROWTH: Overgrown trees and bushes in need of urgent attention from the city.

“It’s a service delivery issue,” he said, adding that motorists could be involved in accidents as pedestrians have to walk in the middle of roads due to the overgrown roadside grass.

Ward 56 councilor Michael Crichton empathised with Rodriguez.

“Having grown up in Oakdene, the suburb is naturally very close to my heart,” Crichton said. “It has always been a beautiful suburb that has always kept a natural charm to it with the koppies and nature that surrounds it.”

He admitted the area was in need of attention and was experiencing service delivery issues.

JAYWALKER: The overgrown roadsides force pedestrians to walk in the roads.

Crichton said the tall grass in several areas posed a safety issue as it could harbour criminals. Noting all of the issues raised by Rodriguez, he said plans were being made to attend to the issues.

“I have had engagements with both City Parks and the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) with regards to having the grass on the sidewalks cut,” he said. “City Parks have informed me that they rely on work orders from JRA to cut the grass on the sidewalks. I have engaged with JRA, but they appear to also be having budgetary issues. This has led me to escalating the issue to the MDs of both City Parks and JRA, MMC Nonhlanhla Sifumba, MMC Helen Makhuba, and the mayor’s office. I am following up with each of these offices weekly to find out when the grass in the suburb will be cut.”

Crichton said he went on a tour of the suburb in January with the urban inspector, who agreed that the suburb faced many challenges and that a service delivery blitz was required. “The date we have set is 12 and 13 March 2018.”

He said Oakdene residents deserved better services, and lauded the Oakdene Neighbourhood Watch and Oakdene Awareness Group for the contributions they made to the area.

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Gopolang Chawane

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