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Meeting to discuss displaced persons - 26 October 2016

Meeting:  Wed 26 October, 18h00 to 20h00, Rosebank Union Church.

The clean-up of George Lea Park has highlighted the presence of displaced people living in parks and other open spaces in our suburbs. Behind the scenes there is lots going on and we’d like to update you about what’s been happening. 

The fence installation is complete and the land occupiers evicted. However, they have moved along the Spruit, behind the berm near the Rosebank Union Church, into the park bordering Rosehaven pensioners village and other vacant areas. Simultaneously , there has been an uptick in opportunistic crime in the HGC area.  With eight incidents reported during September and already nine reported up to 17 October 2016.  This comes off a historically low base.

Your attendance at this meeting is important. Why?

Firstly - it is an opportunity to allow residents to hear about what actions have been taken.  A lot has been happening with regards these issues and the success of any project requires buy-in and the co-operation from all of us.

Secondly- before a solution can be found one needs to understand the nature and parameter of the problem.  
What are the obstacles what existing initiatives could feed into a solution? In particular- is this meeting only to consider the displaced persons from GL or does it take into account the approximately 100 strong residents living between William Nicol, Republic and Jan Smuts avenue? What are the existing initiatives and co-operation agreements in place that could fit into any new initiative? For example BSRA, CRA, Old Parks and HGC have recently embarked on a joint collaborative effort regarding the persons living along the river.
 
Thirdly- what is the City empowered to do and what can the RA's do?
 
Finally- once we have all of the above information we can look towards a solution which may be one that will necessarily be implemented in stages and/or have a multi-prong approach.

Some facts:
The Displaced People’s Unit (DPU) conducted an investigation and reported the following:   

  • The invaders of the Park were identified to be Basotho foreign nationals who are making a living by recycling (90+%) and construction work (5%).
  • There is no ablution facility in the area and they help themselves anywhere. They seem to have clean water which is suspected to have been intercepted.
  • The Gatekeepers/Indunas of the Park said there is a 200+ community of Basotho at George Lea Park some of whom are documented, some partially documented and some undocumented.
  • The community of Lesotho foreign nationals invaded the park from as far back as 2006 and  continuously recruit their fellow countrymen to join them at the park.
  • 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 Alexandra and Diepsloot;
  • Others 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 Nicol road.

Initiatives:
HGC representatives have liased with developers regarding fencing off the area between the Shell Garage on William Nicol and Rosehaven retirement village. 

Together with neighbouring residents associations, we have embarked on a collaborative effort regarding the persons living along the river with Old Parks Sports Club.

Meanwhile, Sandton Sports Club is in negotiations with several security companies regarding professional guarding at the club. This will involve access control as well a perimeter patrols to ensure the integrity of its boundaries.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!

Important Contacts

BEAGLE CONTROL ROOM: 011 678 1972 www.beaglewatch.co.za
HGC Committee: info@hurlingham.org.za security@hurlingham.org.za environment@hurlingham.org.za membership@hurlingham.org.za statements@hurlingham.org.za
Flying Squad: 10 111
Randburg SAPS vehicles: 071 675 7115 / 6
Ambulance: City: 011 375 5911
ER24: 084 124
Netcare 911: 082 911
Randburg Police: 011 449 9115 / 9110 / 9117 10111 for an emergency
Joburg Metro Police: ​011 375 5911
Ward Councillor: 083 459 6152 Martin Williams martcw7@gmail.com
Joburg call centre: 0860-JOBURG
0860-562-874
Includes City Parks and Pikitup
See Community Info --> Overview section for a full list of numbers
Water Issues: Joburg Water

011 375 5555
​customerservice@jwater.co.za
Electricity Issues: http://​www.citypower.co.za ​and click "Fault Reporting" or on mobile http://citypower.mobi
Road Issues: ​hotline@jra.org.za
Environmental Contraventions: 011 587 4232 1st point of contact for any issues arising from the Health Act (noise, restaurants, unsanitary backyards etc) abednigot@joburg.org.za
Pollution: 011 226 8328 WisemanN@joburg.org.za
Revenue Queries: ​011 375 5555
Traffic Signs and Markings: Jurie Swart JRA - Assistant Manager, Traffic Signs and Markings section for Region B jswart@jra.org.za
Region B Contacts and Information: http://hurlingham.alpha.structureit.net/media/48375/Region-B.pdf
Building regulations: 011 407 6111
Eskom: 086 003 7566