Addressing the needs of Wynberg

Monty Oliver, Fawzia Gydien, Roecheda Novodien, Dan Plato and JP Smith.

A walkabout in Wynberg is hopefully the start of a turnaround for crime and grime in the area.

Mayor Dan Plato and mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, joined Wynberg police, Wynberg East Civic Association (WECA), Eden Safety and Security (ESS) Neighbourhood Watch and other organisations and forums on a walkabout on Thursday April 11 to address drug peddling, vagrancy, dumping and general lawlessness.

It was an opportunity for these organisations to voice their frustrations.

Ward councillor Monty Oliver said residents have many ideas to improve the area and there are upcoming plans by the City of Cape Town to upgrade the Greater Wynberg area during the roll-out of the MyCiTi bus service, which will cost about R800 000.

“We’ve gotten many complaints about the Wynberg area and all the illegal activities taking place and we have had a few discussions on how to improve the area,” said Mr Oliver.

Judy Ferdenando, chairperson for WECA, said the mayor’s visit is a step in the right direction.

“We identified the issues which are drugs, drug peddling and drug use, truancy, crime such as robberies and then grime. The area has gone down for various reasons. The issues are overwhelming and we are prioritising what would be the most important things to do to start the rehabilitation of Wynberg,”said Ms Ferndando.

“We are also looking at youth programmes, upgrading a park in Batts Road, building amenities and spaces for the youth to be safe and proactive and those are the types of things we felt important to discuss and propose to the mayor. But we also need the community’s buy-in,” she said.

The groups are also in talks with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to fence pieces of land belonging to the parastatal and use some of it for recreational activities.

Mr Plato said the issues in Wynberg are no different from issues in many other CBDs.

“There are many issues at play and we are doing our best to work with other stakeholders like police and Prasa to fight crime and grime. In terms of the activities or facilities we would have to approach social development and with the Prasa issues we have to obviously engage with them,” said Mr Plato.

He added that the City will be focusing on what the needs of Wynberg are so that they can look at budgeting to work towards these proposals.

Mr Smith said the City are working in partnership with Prasa, SAPS and other government departments to develop and safeguard areas.

“Resources are a challenge, we only have about 500 Metro police officers, a little less than 500 law enforcement so we are trying to cover by-law infringements or complaints, such as vagrancy, as much as we can. All we ask is that people make use of the call centre on 021 480 7700 or open a service request online and we will make sure to follow up. Residents need to make use of this,” said Mr Smith.

Rashied Cole from the Wynberg sub-forum hopes the engagement with the mayor will be fruitful but questions how productive it will be.

“It’s difficult to get to engage with role-players and stakeholders so now it’s about keeping that communication and hoping that positives come from it,” said Mr Cole.