In an attempt to combat crime and to restore pride in the community, the Zeederberg Neighbourhood Watch has been organising community clean-up days, to clean Zeederberg Square and the Paarl mountain, since October.
Anne Jordaan, a Zeederberg resident and member of the Zeederberg Neighbourhood Watch, said the initiative originally focused on the square, to lessen crime in the area and restore the area. She said her neighbours Misi Overturf and Felicity Heyman started the project.
Jordaan said the square became a place where criminals could easily commit crimes. The watch, which has existed for about a year, approached the municipality about homeless people who live in the mountain helping to clean up the garden on the historic square.
In November, the cleaning efforts were expanded to the mountain, to remove litter around the reservoir and old grave sites. A resident sponsored a skip and with this the Zeederberg Neighbourhood Watch was able to calculate that about 1 500 kg of litter has been collected from the mountain since then.
Pierre Heymans, the chair of the watch, said it had 81 members who joined their efforts to clean and keep the area safe. Jordaan said the homeless helpers are rewarded with a small gratuity fee as well as lunch, but she emphasised the cleaning is not a form of job creation. “We will, however, reward for what we want to achieve here,” said Jordaan. She also pointed out that there is an increase in young homeless people who live on the mountain, and said Zeederberg residents will now have to become creative to keep the area safe and clean for all.
Jordaan said various business owners helped clean the square. Jann Kirkby, Johan Malherbe, Michael Kaden, Trevor Clift and Pierre de Koker are the Good Samaritans who donated money, a drinking fountain, a path through the square or provided free services.
Jordaan said the initiative must be an ongoing project, to remove litter from the mountain as it is taken there by recyclers and bin scratchers. They take what they can use, and discard the rest of the rubbish in the mountain.
“The project is not at all perfect, but it makes a difference... there are a lot of loose ends coming together now,” she said.
The Drakenstein Municipality’s Carl Lotz said the municipality views environmental cleaning as a joint effort between the municipality and community groups. He said the municipality appreciates the Zeederberg Neighbourhood Watch’s cleaning efforts.
“Any such [actions] in support of municipal efforts are valuable,” added Lotz. He explained for the municipality to support such initiatives, with refuse bags and removal, the community must inform them beforehand by phoning the municipality during office hours on 021 807 4715.
Jordaan said the municipality supported the watch in the cleaning process and donated plants and compost and stationed more visible policing in the area.
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