The NKRA is grateful for the support provided in the 4th Street park by our park sponsors PAM GOLDING PROPERTIES and VISION TACTICAL SECURITY.

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NKRA Communique – March 2021

Hi everyone

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to continue, and it will be quite a while before most of us get the vaccine. In the meanwhile, please continue to observe social distancing, please wear your mask and sanitise your hands, and please continue to be very careful.

Many thanks to the Green Team of Vision Tactical Security, who helped us by removing the large pile of broken branches in the park in 4th Street after City Parks failed to act. This assistance was very much appreciated.

After years of prompting and pleading, the City Parks department finally removed four dead trees at the intersection of 4th Avenue and 7th Street – two on the pavements on either side of the circle, one inside the fenced-off road reserve in 7th Street alongside the Gautrain bus stop, and one very dangerous dead tree on the motorway embankment. They then also mowed the grass and weeds in the fenced-off road reserve area, and cleared the weeds from the pavement. Many thanks to City Parks for this service.

In a previous communique we proposed the idea of buildings helping the community by cleaning up neglected pavements in Killarney-Riviera, particularly those which happen to be on highly-visible main traffic routes through the suburb. We also proposed that the NKRA might hire service-providers for bigger jobs, when no other solution is available. No members have objected to this idea, so the NKRA will in future address problem pavements from time to time.

The gardener in the 4th Street Park is Nolicent Ntete, who works three days a week in the park. His wages are paid by Pam Golding Properties on behalf of the community. He has a few “standing duties”, namely:

  • The children’s playground;
  • The paved walk-way;
  • The flower-beds;
  • The pavements at either gate;
  • Other once-off projects, from time to time as the workload permits.

The grass, the rubbish bins and the ablution block are not part of Nolicent’s job. However he does clean up litter in the playground and on the paving and in the flower beds etc, as part of the above. The park is huge, and maintaining it is a big job. Leaves fall continually, people litter continually, and heavy rains repeatedly wash mud into the playground sand. In addition we ask him to do specific projects from time to time.

Our basic approach in the park is that the grass remains the responsibility of City Parks. If they mowed the grass regularly, the taller weeds would be shorn off regularly before they can seed, they would expire during the winter drought, and they would eventually die out. However City Parks has not been mowing much this summer, so I have instructed Nolicent to dig up the tall weeds in the lawn whenever he has free hours. He has done this before, many times, but the park is very big, and the weeds grow fast and spread fast, so it is a massive ongoing job to manage them. The “flat” ground-cover weeds are impossible to remove without removing much of the grass itself, which is not practical.

Please note that Nolicent has been specifically told not to accept any instructions from the public, and to refer all such interactions to me. This is to avoid a situation where every passer-by gives him instructions, the various instructions sometimes conflict and he cannot please everyone, and things then become unmanageable and unpleasant. If anybody has any suggestions for the park, please send them all to me. In addition, if anybody perhaps has plants they are willing to donate, or seeds for flowers or vegetables, or garden tools, then please would you drop them off with Nolicent at the park on Mondays or Thursdays – all donations would be most welcome.

The building which borders the southern edge of the park is about to start a water-proofing and repair project on their boundary wall, which will impact on the park plants along that boundary. We will therefore transplant as many of them as we can – particularly the bushy scarlet cannas, which are low-maintenance and which generally survive transplanting. Shrubs and other plants which have extensive root systems will be left in place and pruned back where necessary, and they will hopefully recover in time on their own. The cannas grow from rhizomes, and if small pieces of rhizomes are left in the ground when the main plant is removed, they usually regenerate without much difficulty.

Although we have many benches in the park, we do not have any tables. This makes it less easy for people to work in the park, or to eat meals. In order to facilitate and encourage families to use the park, it has again been suggested that we should install a robust concrete table or two, quite near the playground, to facilitate parents who can then work while still keeping an eye on small children at play. Some rough quotes show that these cost between R3,000 to R5,000 including matching concrete benches. How do the members feel about this idea please?

The Johannesburg Roads Agency has officially committed to fixing all the roads in Johannesburg by the end of June, including potholes and road markings. Some of the remaining major road potholes in Killarney were repaired in the past few weeks, although not all of them have been fixed as yet, and JRA have completely resurfaced areas where the old asphalt was crumbling. In my most recent correspondence and meetings with JRA officials, I was promised that the repair team will be in Killarney-Riviera-Houghton for a few more weeks, and that other roads in Killarney and Riviera will also receive extensive attention. Once the JRA has finished with their planned work, the NKRA can then complete the job by fixing the remaining serious issues, including on the high-traffic pavements.

Unfortunately, as seems to be the tradition with municipal service provision now, every step forward seems to include a step backwards as well. A few weeks before this road resurfacing project began, a different contractor did a quick pass through Killarney, and patched a few of the worst potholes in 4th Avenue, Newtown Road and 7th Street, for safety reasons. In the process, they tarred over the two water valves in the intersection of 4th Avenue and 3rd Street. These valves required manhole covers to make them safe as well as accessible. Unfortunately in a previous round of maintenance, the steel rims and lids were removed, and the “manholes” were reduced to dangerous holes in the middle of the road. The holes were large enough to damage car wheels, and they were a serious threat to cyclists. Eventually stones and sand etc filled up the holes, making them a bit less dangerous, but they needed proper manhole covers. Instead these valves was tarred over by mistake.

The main valve in the 4th Avenue traffic flow is now invisible, and the newly-repaired road will need to be dug up again to find the valve, and to build a proper manhole structure. The second valve (in the middle of 3rd Street, right at the stop line) was patched over with a small patch, and at least we could see where it was. However before they got around to correcting the problem, this entire area was all dug up and resurfaced by the new repair team, and they must have disturbed the pipe, because now there is a pool of water in the middle of that nicely repaired area. Both valves need to be located and dug up, and proper manholes built around them. At a site meeting on Friday with the JRA inspector, he assured me that this would be corrected in the next few weeks. However a lot of road repair work is being duplicated now, and finding and digging up the valve in the middle of the intersection is going to be expensive as well as dangerous.

The municipal palisade “security fence” at the 7th Street circle, which was vandalised months ago, has still not been fixed. If we don’t maintain the area it could go downhill rapidly. The Council doesn’t seem to have the money or the will to fix this fence. Last month we floated the idea for the NKRA to hire a recommended company to fix this fence, and we received a quote of R6,470 for this job. No member building has objected to us undertaking this project, so unless the Council fixes this very soon, the NKRA will proceed to have it fixed ourselves. We accept that vandals may break the fence down again to gain illegal access to the embankment, but it cannot stay as it is.

If you notice any municipal service-delivery issues at all, please report these problems to the municipality on 011 375 5555, and wait for them to give you a reference number. You can also use the following online approaches

The SAPS Sector Patrol Car still exists, but the dedicated cell-phone in that car is not always answered. However the services of the patrol car can still be requested by calling our SAPS sector manager, Sergeant Mdlolo, on 082 355 5646. Failing that, please call the 10111 SAPS emergency number.

Our project to install high-spec security video cameras at security trouble-spots is on hold until we can resolve the issue of having trained people to monitor the cameras. If an affected building is able and willing to have their guards trained to perform this service, then we can proceed promptly. However if this is not possible then there is little point in having these expensive security cameras. Meanwhile, we request all buildings to analyse your surroundings, and trim any vegetation which creates dark areas of shadow around your perimeter – especially near your gates. Extra LED floodlights would also help a lot in certain areas.

A few months ago we implemented a street sweeper service at the taxi area in 1st Street. This sweeper also acts as a security observer, in that he sees what happens in that area, and he communicates his observations to the security company where appropriate. We originally agreed to pay for a limited run for this project, to see if it will add value. He is clearly adding a lot of value by cleaning the streets and pavements in this high-litter area, but although he has delivered some valuable security information, the illegal drinking still continues in that area. Ultimately, we are still dependent on the response from the police – if they decline to act on our information, then the problem cannot be solved. We need to decide if we should continue with this sweeper, or if we should save the money and hope that the litter at the taxi area does not get dramatically worse. This sweeper project is currently costing us R8797.50 per month. I am inclined to continue with this for a few more months, especially if the lockdown restrictions are lifted even further, as will very probably happen as we approach the municipal elections. In the on-going absence of physical monthly meetings, please would the members advise if you have any objections to continuing with this project, or if you have any other suggestions for managing these problems?

Members have frequently asked if buildings are allowed to take disciplinary action against their employees for participating in illegal activities outside of the building, such as drinking on the pavements and social gatherings in contravention of the lockdown restrictions. Herewith a link to a news article on the responsibility of employees to avoid exposing themselves to Covid, and the related disciplinary processes which are available to employers.

https://www.iol.co.za/ios/news/partying-at-the-weekend-your-risky-behaviour-could-get-you-fired-b9a72e1b-9146-4da7-85c4-0299cb339576

The situation is complicated, like all labour law issues, and it is based specifically on limiting the Covid risk to other employees and residents, but this approach might be helpful if you have a particularly reckless employee in your building.

Thus far 23 buildings out of the 55 sectional title buildings in Killarney-Riviera have renewed their membership subscriptions to the NKRA – about 41% of the total. Many thanks indeed to all these buildings for your on-going support. We hope to have a few more buildings join up at the end of this month. Meanwhile, the list of the members for 2021 thus far is as follows:

  1. Beverly Heights
  2. Brenthurst Court
  3. Bretton Woods
  4. Canterbury Close
  5. Chelston Hall
  6. Christina Court
  7. Cranwell Hall
  8. Daventry Court
  9. Devon Place
  10. Dumbarton Oaks
  11. Gleneagles
  12. Hyde Court
  13. Interlaken
  14. Killarney Court & Gardens
  15. Killarney Park
  16. Killarney Village
  17. Kingsborough
  18. Mentone Court
  19. Monviso
  20. Riviera Mansions
  21. Santa Margherita
  22. Seven Oaks
  23. The Rivieras

I attach the financial report for the financial year up to 28 February 2021.

I am busy updating our NKRA mailing list. We try to maintain contacts in every building – including buildings which are not currently NKRA members. Preferably all the trustees will be on our mailing list. However some buildings change trustees without updating us, and sometimes our contact/s move out of Killarney altogether. Please would you update us with the names and contact details of your current trustees?

Please would the NKRA members give feedback on the suggestions proposed above? If members don’t specifically object, then I will assume that you are all in support of all these proposals.

We also welcome all suggestions from all other residents, on all issues.

Keep well, and keep safe.

Wayne Ford