Residents club together to raise wall, deter burglars

From left; Penny Laubscher, Robert Zeelie, Melvyn Wood, Michael Fullex and his wife Nicolene.

Bothasig residents have banded together to raise a wall and cut off a route they say was used by criminals.

Work at the Rooseboom Park started in May after the area saw an increase in burglaries, says Bothasig Ratepayers’ Association (BRA) chairman, Derek Serra.

Criminals had used the rear of the park, next to the N7, to get in and out of the neighbourhood, he said.

Appeals to Ward 5 councillor Helen Carstens to raise the wall had been in vain, he said.

BRA member Penny Laubscher started a petition that drew 287 signatures in support of the wall being raised, but Ms Laubscher said Ms Carstens had told the association to contact the City’s recreation and parks department.

The department had turned down the BRA’s subsequent requests to raise the wall but had given them permission to do it themselves, said Ms Laubscher.

The residents had then raised R16 000 to increase the height of the wall from six slabs to eight, Ms Laubscher said.

Nicolene Fullex and her husband, Michael, are pensioners who have lived in the area for 20 years. Ms Fullex said she had feared for their safety before the wall had been raised.

“It was quicker for criminals to get away by jumping over the wall,” she said.

She said had gone door-to-door to ask people in the area to sign the BRA’s petition and was happy that the wall had now been raised.

Melvyn Wood, who lives opposite the park, said the short wall had been “nothing but a problem” for him because of “unwanted guests” in the neighbourhood.

He said he hoped the raising of the wall would see a decrease in burglaries.

“I saw a guy carrying a La-Z-Boy couch to the wall of the park, but he turned around when he noticed that he couldn’t get it over the wall. This is a good sign,” he said.

Ms Carstens denied ignoring the residents’ requests to raise the wall. She said she had told them to contact the City’s parks and recreation department because they would have needed to get permission from it.

The department did not have a “petty cash” on hand for such issues, and ward allocation projects had already been set for this financial year.

“I did mention that raising the wall was not going to deter anyone from climbing over it,” she said. “I have also stressed that the safety and security of residents falls squarely under the SAPS as it is their mandate to serve and protect the community.”

Bothasig Community Police Forum chairman, Dave Morely, commended the residents for working together to create a safer community.

Bothasig police did not respond by time of publication.

Bothasig residents have taken it upon themselves to raise the wall around Rooseboom Park.
This picture was taken by a resident in July this year, when she discovered burglar bars placed again the wall at the park. The top of the burglar bars were stuck in the ground and used as a step to get over the wall.