Another government-owned property placing the lives of residents at risk

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
26 Jun 2023 in News

Last week I, accompanied by Ward 75 Councillor, Joan Woodman, conducted an oversight visit to yet another property owned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), which continues to endanger the lives of residents.

The concerned residents of Colorado Park in Weltevreden Valley, Mitchells Plain, have raised alarm about an unfenced property situated in Erf 126 and Erf 1110 along the R300 highway, which is owned by the DPWI.

This property poses a significant security risk to both the residents and the users of the R300 highway.

Despite previous correspondence from Western Cape Minister of Mobility, Ricardo Mackenzie, to Minister Sihle Zikalala, along with a submitted petition, the property remains unfenced to this day.

See photos here, here and here.

During the oversight visit, teachers from Washington Drive Primary School expressed their concerns about the continuous theft of the school fence. The absence of proper fencing not only compromises the safety and well-being of the local residents and learners, but also raises concerns about potential illegal land invasions, which have occurred in various parts of the country.

Observing people from the Samora Machel Informal Settlement crossing the R300 highway onto the DPWI-owned land parcel is a grave risk to both them and the highway users. Fencing the property in question would compel the residents of the informal settlement to use the dedicated footbridge for safe passage. Currently, crossing the R300 highway remains a perilous shortcut for them.

I will follow up in writing with Minister Sihle Zikalala to inquire about the status of his response to the petition and Western Cape Minister Mackenzie’s communication. Additionally, I will contact Ms. Nolitha Ntobongwana, Chairperson of the portfolio committee on DPWI, who was included in the correspondence, to determine her urgent response to this matter.

During a portfolio committee meeting of DPWI on June 7, 2023, I raised concerns about DPWI-owned properties that consistently jeopardize the lives of residents throughout the country due to illegal invasions and the proliferation of informal settlements.

Unfortunately, it is evident that the department lacks a concrete plan to protect residents from such risks. This is particularly troubling as it places an enormous financial burden on municipalities, forcing them to allocate their own budgets to mitigate the risks associated with DPWI-owned properties and land parcels.

An example of this burden is the property in question, where the City of Cape Town had to install concrete barricades to prevent criminals from using the property as a getaway for carjackings and other criminal activities.

The DA will continue to conduct oversight visits to DPWI-owned properties that endanger local residents across the country and will raise these concerns through formal communication with the minister, as well as by submitting petitions. Residents nationwide cannot endure the severe risks caused by a department that fails to adequately secure and protect its assets.

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