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Hole in the wall no more

A group of residents of Highbury Park recently decided to take action and be the change they wanted to see.

Lizelle Bailey, a resident of Muir Road, says a hole in the wall between New Nooiensfontein Road and Muir Road has been a problem for years.

“Because of this hole we have had numerous thefts and break-ins around Highbury Park.”

Bailey says it served as an easy entry and exit point for criminals.

“We have, on numerous occasions, chased criminals across this hole in the wall, but once they cross New Nooiensfontein Road, they disappear into the night.

We have also reported it on numerous occasions to the ward councillor but was told that there is no money in the budget to repair the wall.”

According to Bailey a previous ward councillor had a palisade fence put up, but this was stolen the same night.

“The break-ins and theft just continued.”

A few weeks ago she had a gas bottle stolen, another resident’s washing disappeared and a few bins also went missing.

Bailey says their neighbour Pumla Mbebe then decided to start a WhatsApp group to which all the residents in Muir and Ashley roads who were interested to help combat crime in their neighbourhood, were added.

She says as everyone on the group became aware of the lack of funding from the authorities, they decided to take it upon themselves to collect funds and donations of materials to repair the wall.

Mbebe says her family have been residents for more than 20 years and the hole in the wall had been there for more than five years.

There was also a problem with animals – cows in particular that would come through the hole, says Mbebe.

She started the group on 17 September and says 44 residents contributed to get the building material together.

On Saturday 3 October Mbebe’s husband and sons were able to close the hole in the wall brick by brick.

Bailey says that evening a few of the neighbours got together to guard the newly built wall during the night so that it would not be broken down while the cement was still setting.

“Everyone was elated that we were able to achieve this amongst ourselves. This is the true spirit of Ubuntu –I am because we are.’’

She hopes it will inspire others to see what can be done.

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