Residents demand a ‘child-friendly’ park

Andile Msizi Park in Site B is in a terrible state.

With the pending upgrade of playing parks around Khayelitsha, the community of TT informal settlement, opposite Andile Msizi community hall, in Site B, is calling for a “child friendly” facility.

They have labelled the current park, which has been earmarked for a R1.5 million facelift, as “very dangerous for children”.

The park is located on the hall’s playing field, and it is one of the four parks around Khayelitsha which have been identified by the City of Cape Town as being in need of an upgrade.

Other recreational facilities that are set to benefit from the initiative include Mntomntwana public open space in Zwelitsha, Sparks Mahamba park in Kuyasa, as well as Mpetsheni and Nobiya Parks in Ilitha Park.

While the Andile Msizi facility is expected to get an overhaul of its infrastructure, other parks will largely get fencing.

Although TT residents are in the dark about the development, they have welcomed the move.

The park is in an appalling state with almost every piece of equipment being broken, something parents believe puts their kids at further risk.

Resident Ayanda Dyumane said the park played a vital role in the community. But he said more was needed to improve it.

He called for the removal of the cement surface and better regulation of the facility, with the installation of more child-friendly equipment.

“A lot of children have been injured here in the past because of the hard surface,” he said, pointing to a group of children playing on a slide. “When they get to the end of that, it is cement.”

Mr Dyumane also criticised the pay equipment, saying some of it was better suited to adults than children.

This, he said, gave potential predators a reason to be in the park and made the environment unsafe for children.

Another resident, Nosipho Nkungwini echoed Mr Dyumane’s sentiments.

She said her son got injured at the park after falling from the slide.

“We had to rush him to hospital, but fortunately he was fine,” said Ms Nkungwini.

She claimed to know of children who had broken limbs in accidents at the park.

“We cannot stop our children from going there, but if they can at least put grass to make it safer…” she said.

Anda Ntsondo, mayoral committee member for area east, said work on the park would begin in the second quarter of the current financial year. Among other things, it would have a “rubberised” play area, a gym, an amphitheatre and play equipment for everyone.