It started off with illegal street closures … without consequences.
CCTV cameras are pictured in Melville, 17 January 2020. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark
A disturbing aspect of Johannesburg development over the past decade is that public spaces are being hijacked for private and business purposes – and bylaws seem to have little effect.
It started off with illegal street closures … without consequences. Then, it spread to the proliferation of advertising signage violating not only municipal regulations, but also national legislation.
Now, we have the sight of camera poles for CCTV monitoring systems being erected in the wealthier parts of the city, supposedly as a crime deterrent. Many of these structures have been erected without due process being followed. Now, businessman Ricky Croock, head of Vumacam, says the Joburg Roads Agency has no right to say what he can do with his structures – its only function is to give permission for them to be erected in road reserves.
That is breathtakingly arrogant because this land – municipal land – belongs to us, as ratepayers, and we should have a say at what goes on there. No company should be given carte blanche to do what it likes with public property. And the argument that it is to defeat crime doesn’t hold water – two wrongs do not make a right in any civilised world.
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