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Emmarentia Residents Association is the gold standard of community co-operation

Being the oldest continuously running RA in the province (if not the country) the ERA truly cares about the community and welcomes any who would like to support them, or even better, join them.

As the paper has reflected on before, when residents of a community work for a common good, their lived experience is far better than those who don’t have any cohesion.

The Emmarentia Residents Association (ERA) has found the elixir that has led it to becoming the oldest continuously run residents association in the province after it was formed in the early 50s.

Jenny Grice who puts their informative newsletter together says it is because they tackle so many different issues that there is something for everyone to want to be a part of. “Everything from keeping parks clean to reporting illegal buildings and everything in between has a home. People can find a project like researching the history of the area or buildings and they become a part of our wider network which is wonderful.”

Ayanda Mjekula, the group’s chairperson says they are also fortunate because members like Grice and Gemey Abrahams are long-standing members which adds continuity during turbulent times.

“They know the area well and come with skills like town planning in Abrahams’ case. New building plans are scrutinised by us and the Louw Geldenhuys Foundation before they can be approved. These skills are essential, and we are so glad she is willing to share them.”

The community sees them protectively guarding the area which gives greater peace of mind things will be all right, says Mjekula.

He is keen not to put people off by saying they need to become executive members. “There are so many different roles and functions, some more organised than others but there is always space for new members even if they just want to informally support and help.

“Being a respected conduit between the community and say the botanical gardens has also been a hard-won role. People trust us and come to us when they have problems – if we can help, we do with the greatest of pleasure.”

All three agreed though that having a dedicated and hard-working ward councillor has made all the difference. “We had two who were not very helpful, but Nicolene Jonker is fantastic and responsive,” says Grice.

Abrahams agrees. “It has been a marathon to get to the point where the municipality, residents, interested groups and others all trust our work and motives so issues can be attended to timely, so problems tend to not get out of hand because nobody is paying attention.”

Everyone is a volunteer and have other jobs, families, and commitments but, ‘we love what we do, so it works well’ says Grice.

How to get involved:

  • Anyone with any skill can help and if there is no portfolio for it, one will be made.
  • Help with fundraising is always needed.
  • Admin support would be hugely beneficial.
  • Assist with paperwork for the city.
  • Help to identify and research buildings and infrastructure.
  • Help with communication.
  • Help in reporting broken streetlights, leaks or power outage.
  • Clear alien vegetation and maintain parks and shared green spaces.
  • Write interesting articles for the newsletter.

Visit www.era.org.za or email info@era.org.za for more information.

Related article: Emmarentia royalists reflects on historic day


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