Richwood residents respond

Carl Botha, Richwood

Regarding Brett Herron’s statements in your article (“Richwood residents fence off”, Tabletalk, May 31) – “The fence would stop some of the city’s poorest residents from walking to train stations and bus and taxi ranks”; “They sometimes have to face extreme weather conditions”; “A fence will serve no other purpose but to make their journey longer”; and “The city favoured pedestrian-friendly projects over fence building” – what a load of political “BS”.

The DA is lately a bag of hot air, throwing accusations at the ANC, which is just as useless, as long as the neighbourhoods of our political leaders and council management are taken care of, it’s okay, screw the rest.

On Mr Herron’s statement:

It is illegal to walk on a national highway. But it’s okay, as he does not have to listen to the sirens of emergency services on an almost daily basis. I thought he cared about the poorest residents of Cape Town. Never mind the poor person who knocked down a pedestrian crossing the N7 at 5am and has to start off his day like that.

He calls himself the mayoral committee member for transport, but it is obvious that he does not know this area or half of Cape Town. People from Dunoon do not even use the bus stops in Richwood. As a matter of fact, the Richwood Neighbourhood Watch — the people who look out for the local commuters, preventing them from being robbed in their own neighbourhood — can confirm this.

Mr Herron should check Google Earth to see where the nearest bus stops, taxi ranks and train stations are. Have the Total garage, where loitering is the order of the day, and the “island” in Woodlands Drive, where contractors park illegally and pick up people crossing the N7 illegally, been declared train stations, bus stops and taxi ranks by the council?

Again, he can refer to Google Earth regarding his statement about the longer journey in bad weather. Mr Herron should stop sucking ridiculous political excuses from his thumb and focus on what is true.

City favouring pedestrian-friendly projects. Huh? So let’s all take a stroll on our national highways; screw the law?

We moved to Richwood in 1993 and have had three attacks on our children, three house robberies and two attempted vehicle thefts. We have to see our neighbourhood deteriorate and become a “slum” through ANC and DA rule in the Western Cape. For years, we have been pleading, begging and fighting for a fence. Every time we get a new councillor, we have to start all over again.

My daughter was robbed with a knife against her throat at the age of 12. This for a cellphone, while she and friends were playing in Thibault Park. My son was robbed at gunpoint at the age of 15 while walking down the street.

A neighbour’s son, aged 18, got stabbed in the back in an attempted cellphone robbery and another neighbour was shot at in an attempted robbery while getting out of the car. While I was waiting for the SAPS sector van to arrive, I almost got stabbed with scissors while on Richwood Neighbourhood Watch patrol after I stopped two guys from Dunoon at 3am in the morning who were looking for bread.

This year was the first time in the almost 24 years since we bought our house in September 1993 that we have seen the “mythical people” called street sweepers.

Should we revert to burning tyres, looting and damaging other people’s property before we get heard? Should we turn to vigilantism?

Why can people like Mr Herron make statements about “pedestrian-friendly projects” if the ratepayers of Richwood cannot roam freely in their own neighbourhood?

The people of Richwood have lost faith in results from the council. If you speak to the long-term residents in Richwood you will get the answer: “Why should I waste my time with ratepayers’ meetings, if the same issues raised month after month have not been addressed?”

I challenge our council members, and especially Mr Herron’s wife and / or daughter, to sit on the benches in the open field park between 7am and 9am and 4pm and 6pm.

As a South African taxpayer and a ratepayer of Richwood, myself, my family and everyone else in Richwood have a constitutional right to the freedom of movement without the fear of being attacked, mugged or robbed.

Mr Herron and council members can follow my motto: “Do half a job, expect half the result”.