Call to protect Jutland Park

Gardens Neighbourhood Watch is in the process of creating a Friends of Jutland Park.

The newly formed Gardens Neighbourhood Watch (GNW) is looking to start a Friends group for Jutland Park.

GNW chairman Anthony Rees said they want to restore the park, situated opposite Wembley Square and just off McKenzie Road, for the community to enjoy.

Gardens has been hit by crimes including two attempted rapes, and the uncovering of a prostitution ring last month, said Mr Rees.

“There has been a spike in crime in the area and in the SAPS 2015 stats, Gardens was ranked as the 6th highest car break-in area in South Africa. There are so many social challenges in South Africa and we thought if the City doesn’t manage the park, we’re stepping up so that the community can enjoy the park.

“The biggest concern raised in meetings is the situation with the homeless. Law Enforcement is not the only way to deal with the homeless, they just end up being displaced and are not helped in a holistic way. Friends of the park would be able to work with the City to get social services involved and re-connect the homeless with their families or provide them with rehabilitation,” said Mr Rees.

The Friends of Jutland Park would be following friends groups for Oranjezicht, Van Riebeeck and De Waal parks which have been successful in making the open spaces safe for the community.

Chairperson of the Friends of De Waal Park, Mike Bosazza said the Friends organisations have been able to restore the parks by re-painting benches, planting trees and installing speeds humps on nearby roads.

“We work with the City council for the betterment of the park. A lot of people in the community try and do things in the park; it’s an uncoordinated attempt to do things, but with Friends we have a common purpose. These has been big trouble in Jutland Park and I support them starting a Friends group,” said Mr Bosazza.

Mr Rees said the Friends would create a win-win situation for everyone as they would be working with the homeless to help them, to create an inclusive environment.

Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Nicola Jowell, said the forum supported the idea and had supported other Friends groups because parks were good spaces to enjoy but being under used.

“The less the park is being used, the more opportunity there is for criminal activity. Friends groups give community members a platform to raise money and do projects in the park which is privately funded. They look at the landscape and figure out how it can be used,” said Ms Jowell.

Cape Town Central police station spokesperson, Captain Ezra October said the process to form the Friends of Jutland Park would take about six months.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions and it is early days yet as the project will require a memorandum of understanding,” said Captain October.