Enjoy the parks, obey the rules!

ELM working with stakeholders to stamp out hooliganism from public spaces.

Community parks should be places of safety – sanctuaries where children can run around freely and families can enjoy picnics on the grass, in the shades of big trees.

As communal spaces for recreation, parks attract different kinds of visitors every day, with many escaping the busy streets in their residential areas looking to unwind in the fresh air.

However, during the festive season, reports of hooliganism often emerge from parks, with residents complaining of visitors who fail to obey the rules of these facilities.

To break the scourge of rowdy behavior in parks, Emfuleni Local Municipality’s Departments of Waste, Disaster Management, Revenue, Traffic and By-Law are working with several stakeholders including the police and the business sector.

A prime demonstration of this growing partnership is in play at the Phoenix Trim Park in Vanderbijlpark SE2 – where Vanderbijlpark police and Community Policing Forum (CPF) patrollers are working with the municipality and residents to ensure the facility is safe and clean.

Superintendent Oupa Mashiya who is in charge of the Vanderbijlpark area in Traffic Department at Emfuleni Local Municipality also participated in the meeting and pledged the support of his officers during the festive season.

In recent months, the park has been in the news following disorderly behavior by some visitors, especially during public holidays.

This year however, Vanderbijlpark police under the stewardship of Station Commander, Brigadier Nikiwe Hoaeane have teamed up with the CPF to provide 20 bicycles and patrollers to monitor the entrances and exits of the park.

To help prepare for upcoming public holidays, the police and all other stakeholders including the municipality and the business chamber have met and continue to meet to map out operations in ensuring there is order and tranquility at the park.

In the last meeting held at the park on Thursday evening, 29th November, Brigadier Hoaeane said police officers would be parading in the park and a joint operations center (JOC) will be set up in the facility during problematic public holidays.

“We’ll set up road-blocks en-route to this park and our patrollers are also on hand to assist with monitoring the area regularly,” she said.
In the meeting, other stakeholder raised concerns including homeless people sleeping in the park, cars driving into the recreational facility and uncollected waste.

Ward 5 Councillor Phillip Nothnagel led proceedings and thanked all stakeholders for playing their part in protecting the community park.

Emfuleni Local Municipality spokesperson, Stanley Gaba warned visitors who fail to obey rules at community parks.

“Our By-Law Department will be working with the police and residents to ensure there are no disturbances in our parks during the festive season,” he said.

DO’S AND DON’TS IN PARKS

When you visit a park in your area:

  • Don’t drink alcohol in parks, which is tantamount to public drinking – which is a crime.
  • Don’t start or burn open fires in parks
  • Don’t sleep in parks – these facilities cannot be used as residential spaces.
  • Don’t drive cars into parks and fail to park in designated areas.
  • Don’t play loud music and disturb other visitors in the parks
  • Do obey the rules of the park
  • Do respect other visitors in the park
  • Do report any unruly behavior to the police

By Thabiso Radebe
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