Rate payers drive through bushes to reach their homes

The road that was closed when the Henrietta Street extension was abandoned.

LENNOXTON – A complaint was received by a resident of Newcastle, who wishes to remain anonymous, out of fear of victimisation.

She complained about having no access to the homes in the street formerly known as an extension of Henrietta Street in Lennoxton in Ward 25, where her parents live. She said the road was closed over three years ago and since then it has become overgrown with bushes.

“The area has become unsightly and we need to drive through bush to get to the houses. Our children cannot play outside because we fear for their safety as people can hide in these bushes without being noticed. Our cars get damaged because the grass doesn’t even get cut in the area and the dirt road we drive through is in a terrible condition.”

The resident said after complaining several times to the municipality during the past year, a road was promised to be built by municipal officials, through the bush from Mayfair Road, which is a street alongside the Henrietta extension, but nothing has been done yet.

Information from a ward councillor of a different ward, who wishes to remain anonymous out of courtesy to Councillor, Mqapheleni Ncgobo of Ward 25 revealed in initial town planning in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the street was going to be extended, but over the years funding priorities changed.

Allegedly, the municipality later abandoned the Henrietta Street extension, after the decision made during the period from 2000 to 2006. The source said the abandonment of the extension was published in local newspapers prior to the manifestation of the decision by council, and no objections were raised.

Residents in the area were given an option to purchase the land and extend their own properties. It was also said that these issues create conflicting priorities because there are areas without water and sanitation which need more attention. Funding must be prioritised, therefore abandoning the extension was primarily a result of financial issues.

Cllr Ncgobo said they were not aware of the situation, and when council held community meetings, issues like these needed to be discussed. Thus far, no residents have come forward and expressed any of these concerns. He said the matter would be evaluated and dealt with as soon as possible.

Cllr Ngcobo confirmed the extension was abandoned somewhere during the years from 2000 to 2006. He said during this period Ward 25 was under the leadership of DA Councillors.

He said the ANC only took over Ward 25 in 2011, under Cllr Ngcobo. “Public and War Room meetings over the previous years to date were called and this was never brought to the attention in all the meetings. We acknowledge the issues regarding Henrietta Street, and this matter will be forwarded to the Department of Planning and Technical Services. The follow up will be ongoing until the matter is resolved,” he concluded.

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Payal Devisingh

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