‘Hands off our playlots’
Phoenix residents halt housing development
CONSTRUCTION work on a housing complex on a former playground has been temporarily halted after a week-long protest by Stonebridge, Phoenix, residents.
They were on site recently to check that work did not resume while they waited for answers from the eThekwini Municipality on the “the sudden development without community consultation”.
Residents created a page on Facebook called Friends of Cardinal Road Playground, for their “handsoff-our-playground” campaign.
The foundation and walls of the housing unit had gone up before the protests intensified.
The residents alleged the park equipment was sold to a scrapyard for R300, and a dozen or more trees were chopped down.
Resident Thaven Naidoo questioned how they could accept that an answer to the housing crisis was to destroy parks and playgrounds.
“We are disappointed with previous councillors, our current ward 48 councillor and the associations that were supposedly created to represent the Stonebridge commun- ity. We want our playground back. Even the monkeys and birds lost their homes,” he said.
eThekwini ward councillor Bradley Singh said the site was zoned as special residential when Phoenix was developed. In 2013, Singh said, a developer had bought the piece of land and had plans passed for a housing unit to be built.
“I have addressed the residents. They are divided on the issue. Some say the park was used for drug dealing and it is the pedlars that are rallying up community support to benefit their own agenda. A few politicians have jumped on the bandwagon to destabilise the area. The city should have realised they had a park on the property and should have zoned it accordingly.
“I am totally against what they did on the property, but we cannot take this matter to court because we don’t have a legal argument,” Singh said.
The community, however, are remaining hopeful that a letter with their pleas, which was handed over to the city management, would be given priority.
According to Tozi Mthethwa, municipal spokesperson, an investigation was under way by the eThekwini Municipality and the outcome would determine what action the city would take.
Phoenix residents protest on a plot of land earmarked for housing. The land was a children’s playground.