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Edkins responds to SOB

The Urban Management Zone needs to be extended to the suburbs, says Save Our Berea.

DEPUTY Head of Architecture at the eThekwini Municipality, Jonathan Edkins, responded to Save Our Berea’s five key issues, following the recent Monster Meeting held in Musgrave.

According to Cheryl Johnson from Save Our Berea (SOB), an invitation has been sent to Kevin Bingham, President of the KwaZulu-Natal Institute of Architects, to convene a meeting, that includes the participation of the incoming KZNIA President Reuben Reddy.

“We hope to find a way forward with regard to a revival of an ‘elevation control committee’ for the municipality that provides an independent, informed and professional architectural review of proposed building developments submitted to the city for approval,” said Cheryl.

With regard to the Urban Management Zone (UMZ), Edkins has provided SOB with an example of one of the typical stats which were conveyed to him each morning following night actions by Metro Police and other line departments within the UMZ area. Included in the stats were the number of vagrants removed from roads in Durban and the fact patrols were done and DSW had cleaned up side streets and roads of all rubbish and filth.

“Clearly this initiative is working and this is why SOB has requested the city manager extend it to our areas. Jonathan also stressed that it was important for us to understand the scale of operations which are necessary to manage and maintain our urban precincts and to know that there is a concerted effort underway right now, which is making a difference.

“Obviously we have to put in place the whole cycle of supporting social services, and improve the legal or court systems to have a lasting solution, but this has to start somewhere,” said Cheryl.

His message at the Monster Meeting was that this had started and the SOB and residents had the opportunity to get on board.

“Save Our Berea is on board, and we know residents are on board too, however, we are getting reports via the media that this project is being curtailed and only 40 ‘green’ guards on the street will be deployed next month – and that the project is in danger of being cancelled entirely,” said Cheryl.

She said a report carried a story about whoonga boys who had been moved out of the Albert Park area by city officials but who were now roaming around Glenwood and other suburbs, resulting in an increase in crime. This was causing havoc for businesses, particularly B&Bs in the lower Glenwood area.

“Save Our Berea believes the current situation regarding vagrants, self-appointed car guards and beggars at traffic lights in our suburbs is a crisis and city officials need to address it as such. Our position is very clear and we know our colleagues in Sydenham and the Glenwood Partnership agree. We want the city manager to call an urgent meeting with his heads of departments and put the UMZ back on track. In addition, we want him to expand it to extend to Glenwood, Berea and Sydenham,” she said.

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