By Jonk wa Mashamba
The new agreement between Gautrain, City of Joberg and Pikitup will see the establishment of high- standard park in extension seven.
This was revealed during the cleaning campaign held over the weekend in the open space in extension seven near Gautrain Marlboro Station.
Ward 105 councilor Tefo Raphadu said his ward has been doing ‘Love your Kasi campaign’ cleaning.
Raphadu said it was during those campaigns when they realized that an open space next to the Gautrain station had consistently become an illegal dumping area.
“We started to engage the Gautrain management in 2018 where they promise to develop the area.
“We then informed them that the residents of extension seven needed a park.
“Gautrain put together the budget. Finally, we are launching a program to construct a park that will benefit the community.
“This is part of Gautrain giving back to the community,” said Raphadu.
According to Tshepo Kgobe, COO of Gautrain Management Agency, the cleaning campaign was the program to rebuild the space into an area that will be valued by the community.
Kgobe said that the community was responsible for protecting their parks.
“It’s a complete one thing to build a park and completely a different thing to make it sustainable.
“We all have agreed that long-term wise we will contribute to its care taking,” he said.
MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, councilor Mpho Moerane said:
“We are made to believe that Gautrain has been trying to get the city of Johannesburg to sign a memorandum of understanding between Gautrain and the city to get this area rehabilitated since 2019.
“When we came into the office in December 2019, we were stopped by lockdown level five, but now that the lockdown has been eased we resuscitated the relationship between the city and Gautrain.
“The land has now being transferred from Johannesburg Property Company to Pikitup.
“And Pikitup will now sign a memorandum of understanding with Gautrain to make sure we rehabilitate this area and we make it conducive for people of Alex to use as a park not as a dumping site.”
Moerane said it was fashionable that when people saw vacant land, they either would use it for dumping or put illegal structures.
“We want to ensure that the land is used for its intended purposes. but we have a long term view about this area to ensure it has economic drive for the people of Alex, in particular, the people in ward 105 extension 7 so that there can be shops.
“It’s a very big land and we want to use it purposely. We are delighted that we have collaboration with the Gautrain.”
Moerane said the city was planning to reduce unnecessary littering by giving the residents 220 litre bins for refuse removal.
“When they don’t have bins, they dump illegally and we are going t educate them that when we give them those bins they must use them for waste purpose.
We have noted that some people use bins as additional wardrobe and put clothes there. Sometimes when they have functions, they put cold-drinks, alcohol and ice and use them as cooler boxes.”
He added that the city had the responsibility to rehabilitate, but the community had the responsibility to keep it clean.
Petunia Dlamini, Manager for Coca -Cola Beverages South Africa Public Affairs and Communications (Gauteng Region E) said:
“This is the city’s integrated programme to create a cleaner Joburg.
“We got involved because we also work in these communities and Alex is our key focus area in which we do business.
“From Coca Cola perspective, we want to create a world without waste by the year 2030. We have been partnering with the city for the longest time and mobilize residents to clean their area.”
Raphadu said the park will include community garden, indoor gym, soccer field and amphitheatre, among others.
“I’m glad that all these engagements that have been going on for the past three years have come to fruition.
“Come mid-March next year, the park should be here and the people of extension seven should be enjoying.”
Raphadu appealed to the community to take ownership and refrain from vandalizing parks.
“It must not be us who regresses development by vandalizing.
“At the end of the day we will be wondering where the parks in Alexandra are because people are busy ruining them.”