A Shastri Park resident has expressed his frustration over the lack of service delivery concerning non-maintainance of open spaces and verges in the area. Not only is this an eyesore, but it also poses danger in the form of snakes and other rodents at the nearby properties, according to Bruce Chinnia.

The resident of Central Park Drive for the past 30 years said despite numerous attempts to get the Parks Department to clear the area between Newton Park and Central Park Drive where a storm water drain is situated, no developments have been forthcoming. Chinnia said, “I escalated the matter to the relevant departments with no success in the past few months. We never used to experience such issues before, eThekwini Municipality used to ensure that the grass was cut according to the cycle. We never had to pick up the phone and tell them to come and cut the grass – they had a tractor and a team of grasscutters who would cut the open spaces, playlots and verges. Now, the work is being given to contractors who don’t even have a tractor and when they do cut the grass, they only cut a small spot and not the entire area.”

He said after informing the municipality about the matter two months ago, he was told that they will be sending some grass cutters out to cut the grass, but nothing has been done to date. “The Parks Department said the open space was not their land and therefore we must maintain it ourselves. They are a part and parcel of the eThekwini Municipality and are getting paid by the ratepayers, it is frustrating for them to tell us to maintain the affected areas ourselves.

I escalated the matter to the ward councillor, Maggie Johnson who informed me that she will addressing our concerns and following up on the matter with the relevant departments. Due to the overgrown grass at the nearby open space, snakes and rats are making their way to our properties, causing us a lot of inconvenience for residents. The area looks untidy and we need urgent action to be taken by the responsible department,” added Chinnia.
Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, ward 51 councillor, Maggie Johnson said she was aware of the issue and escalated the matter to the relevant departments immediately after being approached by Chinnia. “Some of
the open spaces belong to Parks and some are marked SR180.

The Parks Department is still carrying on with the cutting of verges and pathways which fall under their jurisdiction. “Due to the land being marked SR180, it falls under Human Settlements which becomes an expenditure for Parks as the land could be private land. When grass cutting requests are sent, Parks have to confirm with with Human Settlements who is responsible for the land and as a result, the process of grass cutting takes longer.”

Johnson said due to the festive period, officials were also away, hence the delay in communication. “However, the grass cutting cycle for 2019 has started this January and what has become more problematic as well as is the dumping that’s taking place in open spaces, road sides, and outside sacred places. This too, delays the process and the community needs
to play their part by refraining from dumping illegally,” added Cllr Johnson.
EThekwini Municipality confirmed that the grass cutting cycle for 2019 has resumed in various areas. The municipality urged residents to contact 031 311 5726 should they have any queries regarding the grass cutting schedule.