Call for better security at Morningstar park

A community leader says Morningstar park is unsafe and plagued by vandalism and illegal dumping.

A municipal park near a primary school in Morningstar has become a hot spot for illegal dumping, drug use and muggings, according to a community leader.

The park near Alpha Primary School was upgraded with an irrigation system, trees and play equipment in 2017, according to mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross, but the chairman of Morningstar Development Upliftment Initiative, Zane Williams, says it’s been a magnet for crime and grime for several years despite residents urging the City to fence it and improve security.

“The park is not enclosed and is right opposite the school, and I’ve noticed there’s been constant fighting and assaults taking place amongst the kids at the park in the afternoon. Sometimes these fights are with the kids who hang out outside of the school at this park too,” he said.

“As the park is not enclosed, you get a congregation of drug users sitting at the park and using their substances. There’s also public wi-fi available once you’re at the park, which is provided by the school, so a lot of the youth sit or do research there.”

Alpha Primary School did not immediately respond to queries.

Some youth had been robbed of their cellphones in the park and residents feared walking there at night, said Mr Williams.

“It also looks like the robbers congregate at the park and wait for the school learners to come out and then they confront these learners. We’ll need to have constant patrolling in and around this area near the school,” he said.

However, Durbanville police spokesman Captain Marchell Rhode said the park was not a hot spot for crime and police patrolled there regularly.

“I have no knowledge of any dumping in the Morningstar community park. If there is any, then law enforcement will address that,” he said.

Ms Van der Ross said vandalism and dumping were “an on-going challenge” at the park.

“Measures to address these challenges include maintenance schedules that are implemented to address issues of illegal dumping and reporting incidents of anti-social behaviour to Law Enforcement.”

Mr Williams said they were prepared to work with the City to make the park safer and a woman who lived nearby was willing to open and close a gate if the park was fenced. He claimed parks in more affluent areas benefited from better security.

However, Ms Van der Ross said they had not received any formal requests for fencing at Morningstar Park and a new intake of Expanded Public Works Programme workers would attend to the park and other sites needing maintenance in and around the Durbanville CBD.

Chairman of Morningstar Development Upliftment Initiative Zane Williams says residents are prepared to work with the City to improve conditions at the park.