Janice Jansen, Tokai
I have been a resident of Tokai for nine years and never had any reason to walk through Westlake Village. Recently I walked my child to her school Reddam House Constantia.
Various human rights are being neglected by the authorities that are supposed to ensure a safe and healthy environment to all, including those in Westlake Village.
That is when I discovered a small community so close to our residence in such unhealthy conditions. Never mind all the negative things going on in the community that you read about on a daily basis, a human deserves to be treated with dignity. Where is the municipality serving this area? Why is no one doing anything? If they did something, why is there no improvement?
I am not referring to HIV and TB. No, I am talking about medical conditions caused by an unhealthy living environment: diarrhoea, injuries due to sharp objects, vomiting, weight loss, fever, mouth and throat symptoms, abdominal pain, indigestion of tape worms and all other types of organisms found within rotten food.
Various skin conditions from allergic reactions to fungal related infections and hepatitis types due to unhealthy soil in the rubbish dump with human faeces.
Children walking to school pass the unhealthiest waste dump.
Since my first walk through this poor and struggling community, the most upsetting sight was that of waste dumped right beside a community vegetable garden.
Then if you walk on towards the residential area, closer to Pick * Pay, there is a small bridge which is located as a path to Pick * Pay for residents of Westlake and also correctional warders.
To my surprise I noted another rubbish dump just before you reach the above mentioned walkover bridge. Big fat rats were diving in the pool of rubbish as dogs fought over a disposable nappy, with human faeces spreading from left to centre in the nearby street close to the rubbish dump.
As a nursing sister, I feel that it is high time that the municipality roll up their sleeves and start assisting to make Westlake a cleaner and healthier environment.
Penny East, Ward 71 councillor, responds:
I thank the resident for her interest in this area and assure her that this community has definitely not been neglected as alleged.
In fact, Westlake receives the vast majority of my time and attention, with Pat Francke assisting me as a PR councillor.
More than 75 percent of my ward allocation budget is applied to the residents of Westlake in one form or another. We do regular walkabouts, we engage with residents, and we host community meetings. I will intensify these actions going forward, but I need residents to work with me and with the City if we are to make progress.
The Westlake RDP Village is the most highly serviced portion of Ward 71. The City’s cleansing teams attend to the area regularly and much more frequently than in any other suburb in the area. All properties are privately owned and have been issued with a wheelie bin. Residents are encouraged to request additional bins (at a cost) if they are required and to assist us in our efforts to curb illegal dumping by reporting instances to the call centre on 0860 103 089.
Most homeowners in this area are already receiving indigent relief, meaning they receive rebates and free services in line with our commitment to protecting our most vulnerable residents. Where property owners have allowed backyarders to rent space on their properties, they are encouraged to ensure that they have sufficient refuse bins to accommodate the additional tenants.
We have also encouraged residents to establish a recycling service in this area. I feel this would help to create a cleaner neighbourhood, while also providing those involved with a source of income. Thus far our suggestions have not been taken to heart, but any residents who are interested in running with this idea are encouraged to make contact with their local sub-council office for guidance.
I do believe that there is much that can be done, in co-operation with the residents of Westlake, and I appreciate any constructive suggestions in this regard.