Letter in response to road closures

Resident writes letter.

Resident Lesley East writes in response to a letter from Mrs Hunter, ‘We are sitting ducks’, published on 13 January, regarding the closure of certain roads in Hurlingham Manor:

Firstly, the roads to which Hunter refers to as ‘our’ roads, as in Hurlingham Manor, are actually City of Joburg roads and, as such, must be available for use by all city residents and visitors.

This fact is supported by our Constitution and a ruling by the South African Human Rights Commission after public hearings were held into boomed suburbs and the City of Joburg’s road closure policies.

Read How road closures work

If Hunter’s contention is that suburban roads are for the exclusive use of residents of that suburb only, then by implication, no roads in any other areas of the city could be used by non-residents of a particular area, and we would all be landlocked in our suburbs which is a myopic and absurd concept.

Crime is a problem facing all in our country and I am sorry to hear of the incidents that involved Hunter and her family. However, unless these incidents took place more than 21 years ago when the Hurlingham Manor booms were installed, then her argument regarding the efficacy of boom gates holds no water.

The erroneous assumption that boom gates are an effective crime prevention measure in a suburban environment is further eroded by the reported crime incidents that have continued to occur in Hurlingham Manor since 1995 when the booms and gates were installed. These include, inter alia, several incidents reported in Sandton Chronicle on 15 April 2015 and a reported murder in 2008.

Read Belgrave Bridge closure

And none of the ‘pro boomers’ ever consider the implication of the warning issued by Prof. Ken Boffard of the Wits Medical School Trauma Unit, that people were at far higher risk of mortality from delays in receiving medical care when emergency staff were delayed by booms and closed roads, than they are of dying from a crime.

I attended a meeting on 11 October last year, when the Johannesburg Roads Agency and Metro police informed the Hurlingham Manor Residents Association that aspects of the suburb’s closure did not comply with policy and they were told to remedy the situation, initially within 48 hours, then a week and later 30 days. When the transgressions failed to be rectified after 60 days, the structures were removed. So it is the residents association that is in the wrong here.

These are public roads for all of our use and there are many more effective means of securing your property than booms.

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