Law enforcement officers too ‘concerned about barking dogs’

Dog barking remains a nuisance according to statistics recorded for August.

City law enforcement officers are failing Kraaifontein residents by prioritising dog-barking complaints over more serious issues, a sub-council meeting heard last week.

Councillors grilled two City law enforcement officers who presented statistics at the Sub-council 2 meeting. According to the August stats for area north, there were more than 2000 animal-noise and nuisance complaints; one arrest for property damage; 15 informal structures demolished; five informal and illegal traders removed; one illegal dumping reported and 17 homeless people fined and removed.

Councillor Siseko Mbandezi said he found the statistics disturbing as land invasions, informal and illegal trading- and dumping continued to plague areas such as Wallacedene, Bloekombos and Kraaifontein.

“On every street corner in Bloekombos and Kraaifontein, there is a container shop or people selling fruit and veg or fish. This is causing a big stink in our communities, but you guys are concerned about barking dogs,” he said.

Law enforcement officer Renald Webster said the team focused on the complaints they received.Complaints were often resolved after a warning notice was delivered, he said.

If the barking persisted, a docket was compiled, he said.

It included an observation diary by the officer and statements from all neighbours.The docket then went to the City’s legal services department.

“The officer is also able to issue a fine if they find that the animal by-law has been contravened. And if the officers find that dogs are being neglected, this is reported to the SPCA,” he said. Mr Siseko interrupted: “I have a problem with the energy your team is putting into dog-barking complaints instead of people who are out there breaking the law.”

Ward 102 councillor Rhynhardt Bresler said: “I am frustrated and can understand my colleague’s frustration, as too much time is spent on finding out if a dog barking is really a problem or not, as per the complaint.”

“In this time, illegal dumpers and shacks could be removed and illegal trading could be stopped. Let residents first sort out the problem with their neighbours who own noisy dogs,” he said.

Ward 6 councillor Simpiwe Nonkeyizana said that less than a month ago he had reported land invasions of two shacks behind Hector Peterson Secondary School in Wallacedene but no action had been taken and now more than 20 shacks had mushroomed there.

“If you had control over removing those shacks at the time it was reported and kept your eye on the area, those shacks wouldn’t have been built there, but my requests were ignored. And if you go there now to remove them, there will be trouble, but this could have been prevented,” he said.

Confused, Officer Webster and his colleague, Abraham Basson, said they did not have any answers for the councillors.

Law enforcement spokesman Wayne Dyason did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.

Existing trees would be removed and planted elsewhere, said Mr Olivier, citing a tree study that he said had found they were foreign species such as palm trees.

The open space between the flats would include playing apparatus for children.

Asked to specify the price of the flats and what they would look like, he said: “It is still to be considered.”

When Northern News first contacted Mr Olivier, asking why the development would be close to a cell mast, he said: “Having this out in the paper is like begging residents to object to the development.”

In fact, residents did not know about the development, as a notice had not been placed at the farm.

Resident Nathan Krumm said he had not known about the development and would be objecting as soon as possible. Brackenfell’s roads were already overcrowded, especially Kruis Street, he said.

“Kruis Street has potholes that can damage your car. More cars coming into the area will hurt the roads even further and using the road will cause traffic congestion. It would be a bright idea to first fix the infrastructure in Brackenfell before allowing more developers to come and make their money here,” he said.

Mr Krumm said it was a “horrendous sight” to look into a new block of flats while driving through his hometown.

Another resident, Petro Smallbones, said she did not approve of the development because all schools were already overcrowded, roads were filled with cars and “the City is approving developments left, right and centre”.

Brackenfell’s roads couldn’t cope with current traffic volumes and didn’t need more cars.

“The thing that angers me the most is that a disguised cell mast is in that vicinity, and it is unhealthy to any human, especially children. Yet it’s being incorporated into this development.”

Every open piece of land, she said, was like a must-have for developers and new developments “pop up out of nowhere” without residents hearing about them first.

Brackenfell Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association administrator Peter Sutter said traffic congestion and overcrowding at schools were his main concerns.

He said he had learnt at a recent meeting that children in the area were battling to find spaces in local high schools. New developments would only add to the problem.

“I have been living in Brackenfell for more than 30 years, and it was never like this.

“We lived in a leafy suburb, but now it’s just one development after another. Brackenfell has lost its character.”

City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said that while the property was zoned for agricultural purposes it was unlikely to ever be farmed and the City would like to see it used for future urban expansion.

He added that the proposed development was not “social housing”.

According to him a service availability report, traffic impact statement and tree survey had already been done and the space had no heritage significance.

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