April 28 2010 at 07:20AM
By Zelda Venter
High Court Reporter
Crime-ridden residential areas around Pretoria have turned to the Pretoria High Court for help after failing to obtain permission for seven years from the Tshwane Metro Council to erect access control structures.
The council, however, settled the matter by granting temporary permission for access control to residents of Eldoraigne Extension 18, Wierda Park Extension 2 and Lynnwood Glen who had recently turned to the court.
Two other residential areas, Glossa Estate in Moreleta Park and Faerie Walk in Faerie Glen, have their court applications on hold because the council agreed, as a matter of urgency, to consider their applications to have temporary access control.
The agreement reached with two of these suburbs are subject to the council considering their Chapter 7 applications to have permanent access control to their suburbs.
This will also be the case when the council considers the temporary closures of the Moreleta Park and Faerie Glen suburbs.
Eldoraigne and Wierda Park submitted their Chapter 7 application to the council in January 2002.
Although the residents had complied with all the requirements - with all the council's departments reacting favourably to their plan - they are still awaiting a final answer.
This is in spite of unofficial statistics showing this area is one of the most crime ridden in the country.
The court was told that the applicants' owns statistics showed that the incidence of house robbery in this area is the highest in Pretoria and the fifth highest in the country.
"The statistics reveal that residents in this area have, over the past few years, faced exceptionally high levels of crime - violent crimes in particular. A large proportion of these are hijackings and armed robberies," Johan Meyer, chairman of Eldoraigne Security Village, stated in court papers.
Residents in this area were living in fear because of crime, he said. In the second half of 2008, violent crimes rose by 300 percent compared to the first half.
In 2009 there were 42 incidents of crime - an increase of 27 percent on the already high crime level.
Meyer said that since the beginning of 2008 about 75 families in this area were directly affected by crime.
In January, a family were robbed in broad daylight, while in December last year there were at least six house robberies. The most recent statistics are not yet available.
Several streets will be closed off in this area. These include temporary closures of Stanger Street, north of its intersection to Estcourt Street; Memel Street, east of Howick Street; and a 24-hour manned entrance in Goshawk Street, north of Estcourt Street (open during morning peak). The streets are yet to be closed off.
In Lynnwood Glen West, several streets at the intersections of Glennwood Road are already closed. These include Alcade, Blanton, Elveram and Floresta streets. The residents have been waiting since November 2002 for their application to be considered by the council.
This area is also crime ridden, with statistics revealing that the residents face exceptional violent crimes. From 2006 to 2009 there were 10 armed robberies reported, 27 attempted robberies, numerous hijackings and 46 housebreakings.
Attorney Gary Duke, who brought the applications on behalf of the residents, said although it was taking the council a long time to consider these applications, he was grateful that the council was now co-operating by issuing temporary permission for access control.
"The city asked if we could find ways to resolve these issues, and we greatly appreciate this," he said.
The council was also willing to consider Moreleta Park and Faerie Glen on an urgent basis, he said.
"The recent municipal strike delayed things a bit, but the council promised to urgently apply its mind in this regard. We are happy about this open-door policy and that the council is trying to find a solution to the crime," he said.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on April 28, 2010