Birch Acres residents were left frustrated when 18 boom gates were removed in their suburb on Wednesday morning last week, reports Kempton Express.
The removal was part of an operation led by the metro police’s acting chief superintendent of the Edleen precinct, Lawrence Mogale.
“These boom gates were illegal, which was why they had to be removed,” said Mogale.
“There have been several complaints from emergency and ambulance services and police that the closures hindered their operations as they battle to gain entry into the suburb.
“One such example was when an ambulance was dispatched for an emergency but the woman died before the ambulance could arrive. The paramedics said they battled to arrive at the said location timeously due to the road closures.”
During the removal, residents questioned authorities, some stating they applied for the road closures.
Residents said the gates were erected to curb crime and felt they were more vulnerable without the gates.
“We hear what community members are saying but we would not have removed the gates if they were legal, proper procedures have to be followed,” said Mogale.
“In some cases, the closures were applied for but were denied. However, the community still went ahead and installed them.
“All road closures have to be in line with city planning. There is no way the municipality will approve the closure of a main road. This was the situation with most of these boom gates. We have also received complaints from community members that the road closures resulted in dense traffic every morning.”
Mogale told Kempton Express that residents had to re-apply for enclosures every two years, and if not, they are deemed illegal.
Norkem Park SAPS members assisted the metro police and bylaws wardens to enforce the bylaws.
According to Mogale, more illegal boom gates are to be removed. The gates removed last week were on streets adjoining Piet-My-Vrou, including Stork Street, Hornbill, Kransduif and Watertrapper avenues.
Mogale said the gates taken down would be taken to the Ekurhuleni stores in Spartan to be auctioned.