Park predicament: Crusader faces battle to have grass cut

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SARAH KINGON

COMMUNITY cornerstone Faith Khanyisa Fathula of Lennox Estate has for many years fought to create a safe space for children to play, but it has been an uphill battle.

COMMUNITY BUILDER: Faith Khanyisa Fathula was the voice that did the moving and shaking in the community to encourage the municipality to build a children’s park in Pioneer Place, Lennox Estate in 2014. Fathula bought a lock for the gate and opens the park from 9am to 5pm every day. She also picks up litter and often hires garden services to cut the grass Picture: SARAH KINGON
COMMUNITY BUILDER: Faith Khanyisa Fathula was the voice that did the moving and shaking in the community to encourage the municipality to build a children’s park in Pioneer Place, Lennox Estate in 2014. Fathula bought a lock for the gate and opens the park from 9am to 5pm every day. She also picks up litter and often hires garden services to cut the grass Picture: SARAH KINGON

After numerous requests to the municipality, in 2014 the community received a fenced park, which Fathula watches over and locks every evening.

“My motivation for starting the park was to keep the drug addicts out of this community and keep the kids happy and busy after school. If they come play here, I can watch over them. This is a place for the children to get away from the stress at home and play,” Fathula said.

She said the parks manager in 2014 was very helpful and obliging when she suggested erecting a fence and planting trees. But since then, it has been a struggle to get the grass cut regularly.

“The grass was so long in December and again at the start of May that you could barely see the kids playing. They were afraid to play there because they saw a big snake in the grass the one day,” she said.

After calling the municipality several times, she hired private garden services to do the work and arranged a Christmas party for the children in the Lennox Estate and Milner Estate area who regularly use the park.

HIDE AND SEEK: The grass grew so long in December and May that it was difficult to see the children playing in the park. After numerous calls to the municipality and attending various meetings, Fathula hired garden services to cut the grass. There has been no follow-up from the municipality
HIDE AND SEEK: The grass grew so long in December and May that it was difficult to see the children playing in the park. After numerous calls to the municipality and attending various meetings, Fathula hired garden services to cut the grass. There has been no follow-up from the municipality

After more requests for the municipality to cut the grass in April, Fathula attended a council meeting at the beginning of May, where it was promised that someone would be sent to cut the grass. This never happened and Fathula had to hire help again.

“All I want is for the kids to be safe and the grass is messing with this. If the municipality really cared they would’ve been here, even if it was two weeks late, but nothing,” she said.

The patrons at Swarries pub, which is owned by Fathula, also assisted in paying for the grass to be cut as their own children use the park when their parents are occupied at the pub.

Jannie Steenekamp, who works as an assis tant at Swarries, said the people in the community value the effort of Fathula, who truly loves and cares for the children. “I saw contractors the other day and they said this is the only park that is still well-maintained, thanks to Faith. It would be of much help if the community could contribute money to help Faith buy a grass cutter so we don’t have to be so reliant on the municipality,” Steenekamp said.

“If the municipality gave me a weed eater or grass cutter it would take the pressure off them and I could cut the grass myself,” Fathula said.

Buffalo City Metro had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press but were, on Tuesday, very busy doing maintenance according to Fathula.

If you are able to assist with funding for a grass cutter, contact Jannie on 079-561-2150.

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