Park turns into criminal hot spot

Lindiwe Xela, a former Acacia community leader shows Vukani the vandalised community park, left.

What was meant to be a park for the children of Acacia, situated behind the Joe Gqabi bus and taxi rank in Philippi, has quickly turned into a hive for criminal activity.

The residents said criminals were using drugs and drinking in the park and over the years, the facility had been vandalised. Now the children of the community have no place to play.

Former community leader, Lindiwe Xela, said when the park was built 16 years ago, it was a beautiful place, but its condition had steadily deteriorated.

She said residents were often victims of early morning robberies and they had also discovered that drugs were being stashed in the park.

Recently, she said, netball poles had been stolen and now youngsters were forced to hire poles when they wanted to play netball.

Ms Xela said they wanted a fence to be erected around their park – as was the case in other areas – and all the stolen equipment replaced. She argued that despite them having raised their grievances with the relevant officials in the City, all of their efforts had been unsuccessful.

“We want this park to be fenced and maintained properly. We feel that our pleas are falling on deaf ears and we are not taken seriously.

“We want this park to be renovated and be made comfortable for children to play. This park was meant to be a recreational space for our children. But now it has become something else,” she said.

WardcouncillorSiphiwo Nqamanduku told Vukani that he was aware of the problems facing the park and that he had put aside R100 000 to fence the park and to replace some of the stolen equipment. He said before the end of year the park would be fixed and next week he would have a community meeting with the residents to inform them about what was being done to improve conditions at the park.