Gogo’s tree of pain chopped down

PHIRI CAWE

A Khayelitsha granny who was living in the shadow of a giant tree that damaged her house feels relieved now that it has been chopped down.

“This is the start of my first real freedom,” said an emotional Grace Mbakazi.

Falling branches from the old blue gum on her neighbour’s property have twice damaged the roof of the RDP house where the bedridden 70-year-old lives alone. (“God’s grace protecting Grace,” Vukani February 25).

City of Cape Town staff started chopping the tree down on Friday February 26 and finished the work on Monday February 29.

When Vukani visited Ms Mbakazi on Friday March 5, she slowly got up, stretched her arms and smiled.

“No more troubles and no more fears. Thank goodness we have people like you,” she said, thanking Vukani.

“I am satisfied that the tree is gone. It took a lot out of me. It derailed progress that should have been made in this house. But the fact that I had to run to the media shows how badly we are treated by out politicians. It shows that they only care about our votes not our charity,” she said.

Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects, urged residents to contact the city parks area office at the Resource Centre, Makabeni Road, Khayelitsha, opposite the Lingelethu Police Station, for advice in such cases. Residents could also approach their sub-council office.

“Once the complaint has been received, a superintendent will go out to inspect and provide guidance. Residents are reminded that the City’s tree management policy remains applicable to trees that grow on City-owned land throughout the metropolitan area.

“This includes City-owned land that is leased to individuals or groups. This policy excludes the management of trees that grow on private land unless it impacts on public places and public open spaces,” she said.

The public can call 021 444 9377 for more information.